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The Garden Mix

Nationally renowned garden expert Melinda Myers helps everyday gardeners find success and ease in the garden through her Melinda’s Garden Moments radio segments. Melinda shares “must have” tips that hold the key to gardening success, learned through her more than 30 years of horticulture experience. Listeners from across the country find her gardener friendly, practical approach to gardening both refreshing and informative! On this page, Melinda shares some more extensive garden tips, which expand on the information provided in her one-minute radio segments.

New tips are added throughout each month, providing timely step-by-step tips on what you need to do next in your garden! Visit Melinda’s website www.melindamyers.com for more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and answers to your questions.

Limbing Up (pruning lower branches) Trees

Put away the saw and enjoy the beauty of your mature evergreen. 
Removing the lower branches, called limbing up or crown raising, is done for our convenience not the health of the tree.  Municipalities and homeowners often remove the lower limbs for pedestrian and vehicular clearance or to let the sun shine in for grass to grow.
Mature trees, especially evergreens, benefit when healthy lower branches are left intact.  Removing large limbs can increase the risk of decay.  And over pruning removes many of the energy producing needles and leaves.  This can greatly stress and negatively impact the health and vigor of the tree. 
Consider extending the mulch bed around the tree to make maintenance easier. If you must remove lower branches do it over a longer period of time to reduce the stress on the plants.
A bit more information:  You can be kind to your trees and have an abundance of greenery.  Consider growing drought and shade tolerant perennial groundcovers around and under your trees.  These plants will thrive with minimal care once established.  You will need to provide sufficient water the first few years to get these plants established.  Listen to my Melinda’s Garden Moment Dealing with Surface Roots for tips on planting under and around trees.
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com

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04/19/2013 2:32PM
Limbing Up (pruning lower branches) Trees
Please Enter Your Comments Below
08/02/2013 7:10AM
Limbing Up
This may be the worst gardening advice I have ever seen posted. As I walk through my 2 acre garden, I can only imagine how over grown and uninviting it would be if I did not judiciously limb up to allow air flow and light to the beds below. If your investment in trees is for the short run and you don't plan to live in your location for more than 5 or 10 years, go ahead and follow her advice. However, if you are creating an outdoor space that will be your oasis into your golden years, get the pruner out now. Otherwise, you will be living in a dark dreary mess and when you try to correct it, you will lose those wonderful trees that should be lightly shading your property in your old age.
05/03/2014 11:59AM
Really bad advice!!
Terrible advice. Myers is clearly not a trained arborist or a graduate of any university ornamental horticulture program. If you want to see correct tree pruning, visit a well-managed botanical garden such as Longwood Gardens or Kew in England. Myers seems to intend her advice to apply to all species of trees. A proper pruning program would first identify the type of tree and then apply the correct pruning strategy for that tree. Ignore Myers' advice totally. Where did she study tree physiology and maintenance?
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