The Q&A Archives: Pruning Camellias

Question: I live in Sacramento, CA. I have never done gardening my busband always did it and he passed away in June. I have a Camellia brush that is getting really big. When and how should I pruned it. And I also have a Pomegrante tree that is loaded with fruit right now, but when is a good time to prune it also. Thanks, Marilyn

Answer: I'm sorry for your loss. I'm sure you feel a double burden in caring for your landscape because you'll think of him when you're in the garden, and you'll want to keep it as nice as he kept it. I really think you can do a terrific job, especially if you start small and work your way up into bigger projects.

Pruning camellias is fairly simple. If you want to reduce the overall size of the plant, you can prune it back all over by about one-third. The best time to prune them is immediately after they've finished blooming. If you prune now, you may sacrifice some of the floral display, but you'll have a more compact plant, so the decision is yours.

Good sanitation is important when you are pruning camellias. Wash or dip the saw in a mixture of one part bleach to nine parts water to disinfect the blade between cuts. Do not lay the saw on the ground because this can spread harmful organisms to the cut surface of the plant.

There's no particular rule for pruning pomegranates They flower and produce fruit on 2 and 3 year old wood so you can remove any new growth of the season and you can thin out some of the branches and anything that's non-productive. Spring and summer are good times to prune because the tree will immediately replace any lost stems, leaves and branches. Since the fruit will mature shortly you might want to wait until you've harvested them, then do some pruning. Then next spring, just as new growth begins, you can prune again if necessary.

Best wishes with your landscape!

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