creators home
creators.com lifestyle web
Jeff Rugg

Recently

Bud Blast and Leaf Drop Q: I bought an orchid at an orchid show two weeks ago. It had a few open flowers and a lot of beautiful buds. Over the past week, most of the buds have turned yellow and fallen off. I followed the directions exactly of where to put it in my house, …Read more. Plant Bulbs to See the Light at the End of Winter's Tunnel Q: I have started seeing tulip bulbs at the store again. I know fall is the time to plant them, but I have heard that I don't have to plant them in the fall if I buy them pre-chilled. I asked a few store clerks about pre-chilled bulbs, but they hadn'…Read more. Dodder and Peonies Q: Some of the plants in my garden have a unique growth covering the plant like a giant spider web. It is orange and looks like the plants were sprayed with one of those cans of play string. I have tried pulling it off the plants, but it seems to …Read more. Yellow Squash and Core Aeration Q: The yellow squash in our garden are dying. The fruit grow to several inches long, and then gray fuzz covers them in just 24 hours. We pick them off and throw them away, but we want to find a treatment to stop this or else we won't have any more …Read more.
more articles

Proper Pruning Method Needed for Making Evergreen Wreaths

Comment

Q: I enjoy making wreaths for fall and winter to hang on my door. I use parts from all kinds of plants in my yard, but I was recently told that I shouldn't cut the evergreens; I would harm them this time of year. I have removed evergreen branches for years and haven't noticed any problems, but I also don't want to hurt my plants.

Where do all the evergreen wreath branches come from — surely they had to be removed in the wintertime? What should I do?

A: This is one of those cases where both sides are right. What kind of evergreens are you talking about? The proper pruning time and technique for a spruce or pine is different compared to a yew or juniper, and even more different for a holly, boxwood, azalea or podocarpus. Pruning is not normally recommended for evergreens in the wintertime, but it can be done.

Proper pruning time is not too important when you are just snipping off a few branches, rather than trimming the whole plant or hedge of plants. However, using an appropriate pruning technique is significant no matter when the cutting is done.

For a new branch, always cut the stem back to a side branch or a bud. Don't just snip it off leaving a stub. This is especially important on pines and spruces where removed branches will not send out new growth at the cutoff ends of a branch. Perennials, which are dying back at this time of year, are more forgiving — you can remove them at the ground level or at any desired height.

Many shrubs, trees and perennials can be used for making wreaths. Walk through your landscape and look for branches that have interesting shapes and colors. You may find branches with corky ridges similar to those found on burning bush or sweet gum trees. Not all branches are brown; in fact, kerria and certain dogwoods have green, red and yellow branches. Some shrubs may still contain pretty berries, but be careful if they are put on the front door. The berries might fall off and stain the floor when walked on.

To start a wreath, you will need some thin wire from the craft store. The wire is known as paddle wire because it comes wrapped around a flat spool. Create a simple wreath by tying long thin branches, strands of grapevine or strands of bittersweet vine together. When the rope of branches is long enough, bend them into the size of the desired circle and tie the ends together with paddle wire. Lastly, add a few pieces of ribbon, small cones, leaves or knickknacks with wire or hot glue.

Another way to make a wreath from grapevines or bittersweet vines is to put a circle of nails on a board or shed wall.

With the nails sticking out from the board a few inches, wrap the vines around the circle weaving them back and forth on the nails. After enough layers are wrapped around the nails, leave the wreath for a few days to dry out; the circle will retain its shape. Hanging heavy objects, such as a bird feeder, on the bottom of the wreath may distort the shape.

Christmas wreaths are often created with a wire-form base purchased from the craft store. They tend to use smaller evergreen branch tips rather than longer branch pieces. While you are going through the pruning process, look for small out-of-place pieces that can be cut off to cleanup the look of your evergreen plants. Interior branches on holly, boxwood and needle-leaved evergreens are all good to use, since the plant doesn't need them as much as the outer branches.

Please don't remove tree and shrub branches or perennial tops of plants if you haven't asked permission. It is wrong to make an inexpensive wreath at the expense of stealing from someone else.

After cutting the evergreens, spray them with Wilt-Pruf or another plant protector. These products use a variety of waxy chemicals to coat the leaves. Allowing less water to transpire, keeps the evergreens living longer. Referred to as anti-transpirants, these products help to slow the plant transpiration rate. They are not called anti-transparents, which would help stop plants from being clear. The spell checker would prefer that spelling, though.

Anti-transpirants are useful for gardeners. For protection from winter's drying winds, spray on broad-leaved and needle-leaved evergreens. They assist in keeping transplants from drying out in spring and summer, and can help Christmas trees last longer indoors.

Evergreen wreaths made from spruce, fir, juniper or pine branches are gathered in a few ways from northern forests. In areas that have been logged, new trees are planted. The new trees can sometimes grow too close and need to be thinned out. The branches of these and other cut-down trees are cut up for roping and wreaths. Other companies send groups of people into the mountains to prune trees of their branch ends. The trees are not harvested, just trimmed.

At Christmas tree farms, not every tree is properly shaped and some are cut up. The base of a tree may be curved, meaning the tree is sliced above this point. The stump that remains could still have a whorl of remaining branches, which can be removed for creating wreaths.

E-mail questions to Jeff Rugg, Kendall County unit educator, University of Illinois Extension at jrugg@uiuc.edu. To find out more about Jeff Rugg and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2008 CREATORS SYNDICATE INC.




Comments

0 Comments | Post Comment
Already have an account? Log in.
New Account  
Your Name:
Your E-mail:
Your Password:
Confirm Your Password:

Please allow a few minutes for your comment to be posted.

Enter the numbers to the right:  
Creators.com comments policy
More
Jeff Rugg
Oct. `14
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
28 29 30 1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31 1
About the author About the author
Write the author Write the author
Printer friendly format Printer friendly format
Email to friend Email to friend
View by Month