Mughos, and cannas - Knowledgebase Question

kalamazoo, MI
Question by dfgquilter
July 2, 2007

I have several cannas that never sprouted this spring.(they were in the basement). You said that cannas never really go dormant.
Does this mean I can put these SAME ONES in the basement again and try over?? It would be great if I had a second chance with these!

Mughos.. I hate to trim them but they are going into the street.
When and how should I cut them back? How much can I take off at one time?
Thanks so much! Dorian

Answer from NGA
July 2, 2007


Your cannas should have sprouted by now. If not, dig them up and check them out. If they're mushy or dried out, toss them and start with new ones next spring. Storing them a second winter without seeing growth during the spring or summer is futile; they need leaves in order to store energy in the roots for the following year's growth spurt.

Overgrown mugo pines can be rehabilitated, but it takes a few years. Pines grow by putting out a thick shoot from the terminal end of each branch in the spring. This new growth is called a candle.

Recognized by the arrangement of their needles, pines enclose needles in bundles rather than each being attached individually to the branch.

As the candle matures, new needles pull away from the candle and start to elongate. Mugo pines normally are pruned in late spring when the candles have made full elongation and new needles are starting to pull away.

By cutting these candles back one- half to two-thirds, we can help control the height and width of the trees, which also encourages denser growth.

The central leader at the top of the tree can be cut back to 12 inches and side laterals cut to maintain a pyramidal shape. Hand clippers rather than hedge shears are recommended because they are less likely to damage new, expanding needles.

Pines do not react well to severe pruning because they normally do not produce new buds on old wood. Therefore, cutting back pines past the candles can leave a deformed tree that will not fill in.

Since removal of needles and branches will slow the trees? growth, do not take too many branches at any one time. To maintain adequate growth, leave two-thirds of the trees? height with branches. Pruning of dead branches can help ventilation. With proper pruning, trees grow fuller and height increases at a slower rate.

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