OK Gardeners - How Bad is This?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by DaisyFace, Feb 13, 2011.

  1. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    I nominated husband for "Husband of the Year" in another thread - but now I'm ready to throttle him.

    He is the WORST gardener - EVER. Always has been. So obviously, plant/garden issues are all up to me.

    But every once in a while, he will get it into his head that something needs to be "trimmed". Now, if all he did was actually "trim" the thing in question, that would be one thing - but his "trimming" usually means a compete hack job on whatever poor plant he targets.

    Years ago, I had a gorgeous Honeysuckle bush. An extra wet spring gave the bush a "boost" and it was just covered in heaps of spectular, fragrant blooms. It made me so happy just to look at it or smell the flowers!

    Well, husband decided it needed a "trimming". I arrived home one day to find the entire shrub hacked down to virtually nothing. All the blossoms were stacked in a haphazard heap at the edge of the street for trash pickup. It was terrible.

    So you all understand why I might get nervous when husband decides something needs a "good trimming"....

    It is barely spring. A few things are just starting to become the slightest bit green around here. Most plants are still brown and dead-looking.

    difficult child wanted something to do to earn some money. I told her there wasn't much lawn work, but she could wash the cars.

    husband felt there were things that needed to be trimmed...

    I went out and made him SHOW ME what he wanted cut. Well, there was a butterfly bush that was nothing but dried stalks. These can be cut away because the shrub will come up from the ground. OK - no problem.

    So husband puts difficult child to work on the butterfly bush...

    difficult child comes in and says she trimmed all the bushes. Just the butterfly bush, right? Nope. husband had her do a few more....

    So now a shrub that had just been beginning to turn really green has been hacked down to nothing. I'm not even sure what variety it was. I think a Vibernum?

    UGH! I'm so angry at BOTH of them right now!

    And does anyone know -

    If you cut a Viburnum down to nothing - will it come back? Or has it been completely killed?
  2. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    A Viburnum will come back, for sure, no worries. They are extra resilient.
    I used to call my ExH Edward Scissorhands because every time I came home the bushes were smaller and smaller - sigh. We both loved to garden, but he was possessed.
  3. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Tell him next time he "trims" the hedges too much, you'll "trim" his hair with wax - head to toe.
  4. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    We have a Saturday morning radio show here which I listen to every week. For an hour, they have gardening talkback with one of a number of top Aussie horticulturalists taking calls. This program has developed the phrase "boy prune" to apply to the way some males will overdo a pruning job. It's a bit like Tim "the Tool Man" Taylor with an over-powered new garden implement - they get carried away playing with the shears and go way too far. The boy prune - it usually involved cutting something back way too far. It's a phrase that is part of the Aussie language now.

    Your husband is a classic boy pruner. Some plants will do OK and come back, some won't. You need a system with him to absolutely prevent him doing any of this in your absence. If he were a professional tree-trimmer, he would have to stick to "only cut back the trees with a yellow cross painted on the trunk - do not touch anything else".

    husband trimmed a hedge for me. He knows how I react if he boy-prunes, so he tends to err the other direction. Over time this hedge was getting too high so I asked him specifically to cut it back hard, to his shoulder height. Of course, this is hard on the hedge but so be it. However, yesterday I went out and it looked like the entire inside of the hedge had serious die-back - only it turned out to be prunings that had not been removed, they had fallen inside the hedge and turned brown. husband pulled it all out and the hedge is actually OK. Phew!

    Seriously - the best way to avoid a boy-prune is to get to it first. You tell him you are the garden boss, he is your employee. If he fouls up, he doesn't get 'paid'. Then lock up the garden tools and keep the keys on your person. Only let him play with them under supervision.

  5. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Pruning is really pretty easy if you use just a few basic rules.

    Prune in late fall or in winter. President's Day is about the latest you can prune anything with a woody stem. The plant will be dormant and won't go into shock. NO PRUNING IN THE SUMMER!

    Prune no more than 1/3 of the existing plant. If you need to cut a bush or tree down to 1/2 it's size, it's going to take you at least two years.

    And of course, prune at a new bud or an existing joint at an angle that matches the bend. NEVER EVER prune straight across or in the middle of two shoots/branches.

    If your hubby can get these simple things down, you should have much less trouble with him.
  6. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Okay well ---------You are in the Southern hemisphere, but Viburnum are a little funky. First of all - they need to be trimmed back AFTER they bloom in June. If you didn't do that and they have gone to seed? They may or may not bloom at all in the Spring. Some varities do, some don't. The other thing is when you trim one? And here's the funky part - they don't like to be hacked. One third, one third, one third. If you hack them? The chances of them coming back are pretty slim. I'd watch it for new growth and if you haven't had your soil tested by Clemson Extension office this may be the time to take in a soil sample and then add fertilizer for the little guy accordingly.

    On the upside........Because there is ALWAYS a silver lining and there are over 150 varities of V's......you CAN trim them any time of the year - of course immediately after all the flowers have dead-headed is always best - BUT....virtually anytime. But with hacking I would be skeptical if you are going to get flowers by Spring - since we are nearly 1/2 way through Feb. IT could surprise you though. Since we are still not done with our last frost? I would cover with pine straw (depending on how hacked) but at least the base for warmth, and when it does get warmer - nights over 55? I would mist/water. To make sure you are not over watering? Put a jar in your yard that you have marked to 1".....turn on the sprinkler. When that jar is filled to the one 1" line - turn off your sprinkler. Your lawn and plants only need that in the Spring to 1", once a week. The rest of the week - maybe every other morning? MIST quickly and then that's it - Only EVERY water grass or plants in the morning - if you water in the evening - the roots grow and you get bad, unhealthy grass.

    Also with Southern grasses - St. Augustine, Centipede? MOW in a different direction every time, and raise that blade so the grass is at least 2" depth and in about a month? Give your lawn a good thatching and accupuncture......and THEN fertilize with Scotts. Your lawn will love it.

    Hope this helps. But if you don't do the different way mowing? It will all be futile. Keep your blades extra sharp too.

    Trial and error has cost us a lot -

    Starbie the pink Snapper owner barbie who has upgraded to an orange Huskie!
  7. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip


    If you think your husband is bad, you should see me garden for a couple days.

    Anything I touch will DIE within DAYS.

    At our house? husband does the gardening... because I have a black thumb.

    Several years back I got a HUGE basket of plants for Secretaries' Day. My Mom re-potted them for me. Due to benign neglect, one plant lasted about 6 years. One died within one year. She kept 3 of the 5 - and they're HUGE, and BEAUTIFUL!

    A couple of years ago, husband and father in law got together and gave me a basket of flowering plants for Mother's Day. The only one still surviving is the rose bush - I had him plant it outside! And it's still TINY.

    For this past Christmas, my Mom gave me an Amaryllis. Thos things thrive on benign neglect. It did bloom, and the leaves are about 3 feet long. And I have the kids water it for me...
  8. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Thanks everyone!

    Edward Scissorhands??? So you've got one too, eh?

    Funny! That might teach him...

    "Boy Prune"...I'll have to remember that one. I didn't realize it was a guy thing in general - I just thought husband was exceptionally bad with plants.

    I don't think husband even understands that there is supposed to be a difference between "pruning" and "cutting down"...much less that there is a correct time and process for keeping the plants in top shape!

    Thanks for the tips - I didn't know about reversing the cutting direction for the grass! That should help with the lawn...

    You may visit any time, but you'd best just stay out of the garden!


    So here's what happened:

    After I reamed husband, I went back out to see what I could do for this shrub...

    One of the reasons I'm not sure exactly what kind it is is that we moved here over the summer last year and this shrub was already done blooming by then - so I have never seen it's flowers. It's an evergreen with long arching branches.

    Either way, ALL of the green has been removed. It went from being a 6 ft+ shrub to 12 inches of brown sticks.

    Unless the roots will send up fresh new shoots - I think it's pretty well dead.

    Needless to say, I was very upset. And now we have a new rule:

    NO ONE does any TRIMMING of ANY KIND except ME!

    (And husband best get me a new flowering shrub if this one doesn't come back!...)
  9. Mamaof5

    Mamaof5 Guest

    Errr..I kill cactuses...'nuf said.
  10. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    If you feed enough coffee and tea to a cactus - i.e., overwatering it - it will explode.

    And it smells terrible when it does.
  11. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Ohhhhhhhhh meant to tell you too........YOU CAN... take the cuttings of the soft wood and root them - and have dozens of Viburnum. You have to use a little root tone dust......but if they are stil there? You can get a BUNCH of cuttings - You'll have to put them inside for now...but OH GOLLY can you do a hundred of them, and when they sprout? Pot them. Not sure what is the right procedure - call Clemson Extension. You may have to bag them with root tone .........and air grow them - or you may have to pot them.......can't remember. But you could literally line the drive with them cuttings/plants you get from the 'mangler'.
  12. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Mama of 5

    You have to know what kind of cacti you have -

    There are desert and rain forest. I have both - very interesting creatures. My Christmas cacti and the cousin to it? LOVE fairly dry soil but have to be misted a few times a week and have loam and sand in the pot. I have another that is a rainforest cactus and it finally found it's place high on a shelf, hates water, hates sunlight, hates me, hates everything but being left A LONE......I call it HERMIT. It's ugly as sin. I water it about once every 3 months and mist once a week and finally it quit dying on me. Then I have the Schlumbergera (sp) and put it in with the Christmas Cactus and ta da - they love darkness - total darkness, little water and diffused light. My other cactus? LOVE LOVE LOVE light - hate water. I call them my Barbie plants. And last but not least there is my nemesis - the Aloe. So I finally got THAT under control -----HATES water, not fond of sunlight.....don't move. Once it finds a shelf - DO NOT MOVE. Rotate once a month, water sparingly......and mist lightly every other week.

    I love plants - I was a plant hoarder - and finally found joy in giving them away. Actually my house looked like a funeral parlor. I stopped rescuing plants on the side of the road....(okay I stopped brining them into the house) lol. They are now hidden all over or given away quickly after rehab. Anyone want a lovely Dracina? 6' tall - needs a Southern, warm and adoring home. You can't believe what HE looked like when we rescued him from a dumpster. OM.....