Extend life of tree by cutting dead limbs

I read about verticillium wilt in silver maple trees and think that’s what is happening with our tree.

Can I safely cut off the limbs that are without leaves? When is a good time?

— Della

There are reports that cutting the dead (or mostly dead) limbs off of a maple infected with verticillium wilt can extend the life of the tree.

Understand that doing this doesn’t cure the tree, it just delays the inevitable. I’m afraid that in almost all cases, your tree is going to die.

Cutting dead growth off can be done any time of the year. I encourage people to cut dead growth off as soon as they can because it can harbor insect and disease problems that could hurt the plant.

When cutting off a branch, you should cut just above another branch so you don’t leave a large “stub” on the tree. This stub often just dies or if it does grow, it’s in the form of a number of weak “water sprouts” that actually lead to more problems down the road.

My ice plant doesn’t bloom. It’s growing well, looks healthy, but just doesn’t flower. What can I do?

— Denise in Los Osos, Calif.

I’m not sure exactly what’s going on. The most common reason is that the plant is getting a bit too much shade.

Ice plant thrives in full, hot sun and if it doesn’t get enough light, the plant may look OK, but it won’t bloom.

The only other possibility I can think of is age. Sometimes they just take a bit of time to get going.

If the plants are healthy and growing well, be patient and concentrate on keeping them as happy and healthy as you can.


When can I transplant my iris? I would like to move them, but I need to know the best time.

— Sherry

Actually, the best time to transplant iris is in August sometime. However, you can do it now if you need to.

The only “problem” with doing it now is that you may not get any flowers this spring. If that happens, the plants should grow great, establish themselves and bloom fine for you next year.

Dennis Hill is the nursery manager at Bookcliff Gardens, http://www.bookcliffgardens.com. Send questions to Bookcliff Gardens, 755 26 Road, Grand Junction 81506; or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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