Pruning trees and shrubs

info from agreculture Canada

Pruning trees and shrubs

The rule of thumb to follow when pruning trees and shrubs is: "If you have no good reason to prune, don't". Most trees and shrubs have a natural form to them and may do better and look better if left alone. Each kind of tree has its own characteristic shape or growth habit and when pruning, you should try to maintain that habit. There are times, though, when pruning must be done and proper procedures should be followed.

Reasons for pruning

  • Pruning at planting time:
    • just after transplanting, the tops should be pruned back to compensate for the loss of roots and to begin training the tree. This should not exceed one-third of the plants total top growth. 
  • Training:
    • to develop a strong framework to withstand winds, a tree should be pruned to a few strong limbs spaced well apart, up, down and around the trunk.
    • to develop a shade tree with limbs coming off the trunk at a height greater than 1.6 to 2.4 metres, lower branches should be pruned off. Ideally pruning should be done over an extended period of time as the tree grows in height. If done all at once this can result in a weak, spindly tree that needs staking. If you are going to prune all at once it is best to prune those lower branches to short stubs. These stubs will eventually be removed. The short stubs act as sap drawers, putting out leafy shoots which manufacture food and draw up water and minerals resulting in a stouter, stronger trunk. These stubbed branches must be kept pruned back and can be removed completely after permanent scaffold branches (main crown) have been established.
  • Tree health:
    • prune to eliminate limbs with weak crotches that arise from the trunk at acute angles.
    • prune to eliminate limbs that cross each other or compete for the same space in the trees crown.
    • prune to eliminate dead and diseased branches to improve the appearance of the tree and prevent entrance and spread of diseases and insects.
    • prune to revitalize older trees by pruning out part of the crown of the tree, reducing the leaf area that the root system has to supply. More vigorous growth results in the remaining branches.
    • prune to increase air circulation through the tree both for the trees benefit and to increase air flow into the landscape. More sunlight gets through the tree which is beneficial for lawn growth below.
  • Safety:
    • dead, broken, weak or split branches, or low hanging branches which might be a hazard to people, vehicles or buildings should be removed.

More information here 


How to maintain a healthy lawn in seven simple steps

Since herbicides came off the market in Ontario in 2009, many homeowners puzzle over the right strategy to keep their lawns healthy. Fear not! All the turf management tools you need follow below. Proper lawn care techniques, done at the right time, can make your lawn greener than it's ever been!

Step 1: aerating and thatch control

  • Aerate in the spring and fall before top dressing or fertilizing.
  • Aerators can be rented or lawn care companies can provide the service.
  • Alleviates compacted soil and allows water to penetrate deeper, producing deeper roots.
  • Creates space in soil for penetration of air, water and nutrients.
  • Physically breaks up thatch.
  • A healthy lawn has 1 cm (1/2 inch) of thatch - more than 2.5 cm is too much.
  • Unhealthy amounts of thatch prevent water and nutrients from reaching roots.
  • Thatch can harbour insects and diseases.
  • Use a de-thatching machine or hire a lawn care company.

Step 2 : improving soil quality

  • Grass grows best in a moist, fertile soil that is not waterlogged.
  • Sandy soil and heavy clay both need humus to improve the texture.
  • A deep dense root system is most important to support top growth in grass.
  • A minimum of 4 in. (10 cm) of soil is needed.
  • More soil = deeper roots.
  • Soil samples can be sent for analysis. The results will include levels of phosphorus, potassium, pH and lime.
  • pH levels are the measurement of acid and alkaline level. The optimum level is between 6.0 and 7.0. Test can be done by Agri-Food Laboratories, Imperial Rd. Guelph, 1-800-265-7175,
  • Top dress lawn with good quality top soil (1/4 to 1/2 inch), consisting of loam, peat moss and compost, to improve soil conditions.
  • Can be combined with overseeding.

Step 3: overseed

  • Top-dressing and overseeding are ideal opportunities to introduce drought-resistant grass mixes.
  • Best time is early fall, but can be done in spring if there is winter damage.
  • Red fescue tolerates shade and drought conditions, requires low-fertility, rows well in the sun, has very fine leaves and spreads by runners.
  • Perennial rye grass is drought tolerant, prefers full sun, but tolerates shade.
  • Many perennial rye grasses contain levels of endophytic fungus, which help the roots take up water and nutrients. Hairy chinch bugs, bluegrass billbugs and sod webworms don't like the taste.
  • Perennial rye grass retains its green colour very well during mid-summer heat stress.

Step 4: mowing

  • Mow high: 6 to 8 cm (approx 3 in.).
  • Keep mower blades sharp.
  • Mow frequently - cut no more than 1/3 of shoot length.
  • Leave clippings on the lawn to provide a natural source of nitrogen.

Step 5: fertilizing

  • Very important to grass health.
  • Provides nutrients to out grow weeds.
  • Use a slow release type of fertilizer, and follow instructions.
  • Use a spreader for even application.
  • Consider using organic fertilizers.
  • Apply a fertilizer specifically formulated for turfgrass. An established lawn with a good root system can seek out phosphorous already in the soil. The Lawn Care Sector Group of Landscape Ontario recommends using a phosphorus-free fertilizer on established turf.
  • Nitrogen needs to be applied each year.
  • Phosphorus and potassium are stable in soil.
  • Late fall fertilization is best to increase fall and spring root growth and also results in an early spring green up.
  • Promotes a thicker lawn.
  • Timing is critical -  in the fall, the turf has stopped growing above the soil, but the roots are still active.
  • Follow-up with late May, early June fertilization (consider corn gluten meal and deal with crabgrass at the same time).

Step 6: spot check for weeds and insects

  • Integrated Pest Management is as good as conventional pest management.
  • Pull any broadleaf weeds by hand.
  • Annual weeds: prevent flowering by mowing and/or hand pulling.
  • Grass weeds: apply a pre-emergent (prevents germination) treatment. Try corn gluten meal Turf Maize.
  • Perennial rye grass mix will minimize chinch bugs, bluegrass billbugs and sod webworms.
  • Apply nematode spray for grubs.

Step 7: irrigating

  • Let a healthy lawn go dormant during extended dry periods. It can survive four to six weeks without adequate water.
  • Water only during an extreme drought or if lawn is under stress or renovation to begin with. If your lawn is dormant:
    • Check regularly for insect pests
    • Keep traffic off
    • Stop mowing
    • Do not fertilize
    If you do water:
    • Water deeply: 2.5 cm (one inch).
    • Water infrequently: Less than once a week.
    • Water before 10:00 a.m. to avoid evaporation and for best health.
    • Follow any regional watering restrictions.

Month-by-month guide

April Clean-up, rake, investigate winter damage
May Aerate if needed
Top-dress and overseed if needed
Pull dandelions and other weeds
Apply corn gluten meal
Pre-emergent for crab grass
Wait 30 days if overseeding
June Pull dandelions and other weeds
Monitor grubs
July Monitor grubs
Monitor chinch bugs
August Apply nematodes if necessary for grubs
Late in the month, overseed with drought resistant grass — perennial rye grass or red fescue
September Overseed early in the month
Monitor  and pull weeds
October Buy fertilizer
November Apply late season fertilizer


#HealthyLawnTips #Landscaping #LawnTips #SringLawnTips 


New property listed in Central West, Ajax
I have listed a new property at 30 Withay CRES in Ajax.

This beautiful 2678 sq ft. home is situated in a sought after location close to schools , parks and shopping. Features of this home include a unique main floor layout that has been designed with a full 4 piece bathroom and space that accomodates a main floor bedroom.  There is a goreous oak staircase off the spacious entry with quality cermamic floors throuth to kitchen / large Living Room with gorgeous hardwood floor / main flr family room with FP and hardwood flooring.  3 large bedrooms with laminate flooring on the 2nd floor and a huge master bedroom with hardwood floors, large walk in closet and reno'd 4 piece ensuite. The basement is partially finished with lots of space waiting for your personal touch. No sidewalks to shovel in the winter a large private double driveway for 4 vehlcles. 

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