11 July 2007

Sun! Deadheading Rain Weary Plants

A shady corner in my sister's back yard.
Hens and their chicks.

SO MANY WEEDS SO LITTLE TIME
This is supposed be the only sunny day in a string of rainy ones so we pulled weeds, deadheaded flowers, staked peppers, picked and trimmed tomatoes, sprayed fungicide and whatever else could be done before the sun made it too hot to work any more.
Deadheading includes cutting off the flowers that are no longer fresh. While you are out there, trim back a little of the legginess that plants have taken on with all the cloudy days. For example, if the petunia has one lone flower at the end of an 8-inch long stem, trim back the stem. Where? Hold the stem in hand and look at the places where new little leaves have emerged when earlier flowers fell off. Select a new leaf cluster that is growing upwards and cut the stem just past that spot, leaving the upward facing leaves in tact. Don't worry if you cut it wrong the first time, just cut down a little farther.
"Cut to the earliest green on the stem" means to look at where the stem attaches to the root and identify the nicest looking new growth along the stem closest to where it comes out of the ground or off of the trunk. Cut there, leaving on the healthy looking growth .
Follow this link to Tulsa Master Gardener's website with specific guidelines on deadheading and pruning flowers, trimming trees and shrubs - with pictures even!

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