Pruning boxwood shrubs

Q. When is the best time to prune boxwood shrubs?

A. Established boxwood shrubs requiring little or no pruning. The best time for overall pruning to shape boxwoods is in the early spring. However, trimming stray branches and thinning cuts can be done anytime during the growing season.

Fertilizing trees and shrubs

Q: How often should I fertilize the roots of my trees and shrubs?

A: As a general rule, it is not necessary to use synthetic fertilizers for trees and shrubs unless the plants exhibit a nutrient deficiency. Good soil nutrition and a two-inch layer of compost, such as leaf mulch, placed around your trees and shrubs on a yearly basis should be sufficient for good plant health.

Lack of flowers on lilacs


Q. Why doesn’t my lilac bloom in the spring?

A. There are several possible reasons why your lilac fails to bloom. The most common cause is lack of adequate sunlight. Lilacs (Syringa) need to be planted in a location that receives at least six hours of strong, direct sun per day. They are very tolerant of different moisture conditions as long as they are planted in well-drained soil.

Trees and Shrubs Recovering from Drought

Q: My trees and shrubs struggled this year because of the drought.  Will my plants recover?
A:  Many plants are showing signs of distress this year due to the drought and extreme temperatures.  Scorch, browning of leaves, leaf drop, and premature fall color are commonly seen due to this year’s weather conditions. Many plants seem to be perking up with the recent rains; however, significant damage may have already occurred. Young, not yet established plants, i.e., less than 3 years old, are at greatest risk of suffering long term damage.

Winter Evergreen Discoloration

Juniper in Winter

Q:  I recently noticed that some of my evergreens have become discolored. Should I be concerned?

A: It is normal for the foliage of some evergreens, such as arborvitae (Thuja) and boxwood (Buxus), to change color in cold weather. The different color of the foliage in such species is not indicative of a pathogen or cultural disorder; it is a normal response to winter temperatures.

Species that are known to change color in cold weather include: