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  • Garden events in Middle Tennessee

    April 4: Wildflower Week at Beaman Park. Tree hike, 10 a.m. - noon; Wild Food display, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.; wildflower hike, 2 - 4 p.m; wildflower photo exhibit reception, 5 - 6:30 p.m.; Full Moon hike, 6 - 8 pm. Beaman Park Nature Center, 5911 Old Hickory Blvd. in Ashland City.

    April 10: Join naturalist Deb Beazley on a Wildflower Walk, 9 a.m. - noon, to enjoy the spring wildflowers in bloom around Warner Park Nature Center. A wildflower walk is also planned for April 15 with Kim Bailey. Call 615-352-6299 to register for these adults-only events.

    April 10-11: Howe Wild Weekend, featuring a cocktail supper April 10 with Amy Stewart, author of The Drunken Botanist; box lunch and lecture with Stewart and Wicked Plants April 11, and native plant sale of spring-blooming wildflowers, shrubs, vines and small trees, 9:30 a.m. until all the plants are sold. Sponsored by the Garden Club of Nashville to benefit the Howe Garden at Cheekwood. Details at www.gcnashville.org.

    April 10 – 12: Trails & Trilliums festival at the Monteagle Sunday School Assembly in Monteagle, Tenn. The event includes outdoor family activities and guided hikes, workshops, garden tour, music, art and vendors, and the keynote address by Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods. Complete details at www.trailsandtrilliums.org.

    April 11:  Middle Tennessee Perennial Plant Society’s annual plant sale, 9 a.m. – noon (or until the plants sell out) at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds. More than 450 varieties of perennials, shrubs, roses, vines and annuals chosen to thrive in Tennessee gardens. Free admission; the Fairgrounds has a $5 parking fee. A complete list of plants is at www.ppsmt.org.

    April 11: Celebrate spring and Japanese culture at the Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival. The event begins with a 2.5-mile walk at 9 a.m.; festival opens 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. at Nashville Public Square with exhibitors, entertainment, artists, food, marketplace. Sponsored by the Japan-America Society of Tennessee. Details at http://nashvillecherryblossomfestival.org/

    April 12: The Tennessee Gesneriad Society will meet at 2 p.m. at Cheekwood’s Botanic Hall. The program will be a propagation workshop, and all attending will leave with a box of cuttings and information about propagation and care. The program is free and open to the public. Information: email Julie.mavity@gmail.com or call 615-364-8459.

    April 17: Join naturalist John Michael Cassidy for an all-ages Wildflower Hike, 9 – 10:30 a.m. at Shelby Bottoms Nature Center. The leisurely walk to look at wildflowers will be followed by a snack at the Nature Center. Call 615-862-8539 to register.

    April 18: Herb Society of Nashville herb sale, featuring dozens of types of herbs for sale, along with a selection of heirloom tomato, pepper, eggplant and kale plants, handmade pottery herb markers by Roy Overcast, information from The Compost Man, shopping assistants and more. 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Tennessee State Fairgrounds. Free admission; the Fairgrounds has a $5 parking fee. Find a list of plants for sale at www.herbsocietynashville.org.

    April 24: Nashville Tree Foundation’s High Tree Party will honor the winners of this year’s Big Old Tree Contest, highlighting Davidson County’s oldest and largest trees, 4 p.m. at Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art. Details at www.nashvilletreefoundation.org.

    April 25: First Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashville Herb & Craft Fair, selling annual and perennial herbs, heirloom tomato plants and native plants plus handmade craft items, specialty items, handmade pressed flower art and jewelry, natural soaps, yeast breads, spice mixes, jams, jellies and other items. 9 a.m. - 3 p.m., 1808 Woodmont Blvd. Details at www.firstuunashville.org/herbfair.

    May 3: Mid-State Iris Association annual Iris Show, 1:30 - 5 p.m., Franklin Synergy Bank, 1 East College Street, Murfreesboro, TN. Free admission.

    May 16: The Master Gardeners of Davidson County’s 5th annual Urban Gardening Festival at Ellington Agricultural Center. The free community event is designed to educate and engage visitors with garden demonstrations and exhibitors and vendors from throughout the greater Nashville area.

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Prune crape myrtle without committing ‘crape murder’

I have developed my crape myrtles into tree forms. Every year I have to cut back the suckers that grow from the base of the trees at ground level. Is there anything I can do to eliminate the suckers?

Crape myrtleThe suckers that grow from the ground around crape myrtles can be the result of improper pruning. If you top the plants every year (and garden experts sometimes refer to this as “crape murder”) they respond by sending up shoots from the base.

There are many sources for information on pruning crape myrtles, but one good one comes from the Virginia Cooperative Extension of Virginia Tech and Virginia State University. Their suggestion:

Prune crape myrtles as you would any other tree or shrub – by cutting back to a bud, a side branch or a main stem, giving consideration to the ultimate shape of the plant. If you need to cut off only part of a branch, cut above an outward facing bud or side branch. If you need to remove an entire branch, cut just outside the branch collar on the stem, where the branch is attached.

Don’t make random cuts in the middle of a branch or stem. Topping a crape myrtle – or any tree, for that matter – can lead to stem decay and more dead branches. It also encourages the growth of weak shoots at the top of cut stems, which can become top-heavy with flowers and break in a strong wind.

The Virginia Cooperative Extension notes that re-suckering can sometimes by suppressed by applying naphthalene acetic acid after the suckers are pruned. Crape myrtles that are given too much fertilizer may also produce suckers, and have fewer flowers. They advise not to fertilize unless a soil test indicates the need to do so.

The best time to prune crape myrtles has passed for this year. Do the job in late winter or early spring, before new growth begins.

 

This weekend: Beautiful bonsai

bonsai2Bonsai expert Owen Reich invites garden enthusiasts to the Nashville Bonsai Society’s Regional Bonsai Expo July 11 – 13 at Cheekwood Botanical Garden. Reich, Jim Doyle and Young Choe are guest artists, and there will be more than 50 bonsai displays, along with workshops, exhibits and vendors.

The photo above is of a Swamp Rose (Rosa palustris) that Reich collected in Tennessee and trained as a bonsai. “There will be a number of bonsai on display this year created from trees and shrubs native to the United States, as well as high-end bonsai imported from Japan,” he says. The stand in the display was made in Chattanooga by Tom Scott, and the container is a 250 – 300 year-old Chinese container called a Kowatari Shirogochi Pot.

The picture is just a sample of the unique and unusual bonsai on display this weekend. Complete details here.

One Response

  1. This year’s show will be a noteworthy one! People from all over the East Coast and Mid-west will bring tier best bonsai displays for this event. This is not your average side-of-the-road bonsai but true artistic expression via a living media.

    See you there!

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