Plain Gardening: Pruning

Plain Gardening: Pruning

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Last week, we pruned azaleas on Plain Gardening.  This week it's Pruning Part II with Mobile Botanical Gardens Executive Director Bill Finch.

We'll start with bananas.  Bananas need pruning, and the question is not when, but why?  Each stalk will only produce fruit once.  Then it put out lots of shoots, which will each grow into a banana tree stalk.  If you only want foliage, you can let them all grow. But it you want fruit, the many stalks will compete for sunlight and nutrients.  Cut down last year's already-fruited big stalks, then thin out the shoots...leaving maybe two or three in a ten-square foot area.

There are a couple of reasons to trim figs.  Figs grow big, and in this case it was hitting the neighbor's house.  But just as important, when figs get big you can't reach the fruit.  The birds get most of your fruit!  By trimming back the big trunks, you can make the figs reachable...even turn a fig tree into a fig bush.

Finally, what do you do with citrus (like this Satsuma)?  Nothing.  Citrus branches have a weeping arch that puts the fruit right in hand.  There's no good reason and no good way to prune them, anyway.  If you trim the foliage, you'll also get less fruit.

Want to know more?  Check with the Master Gardeners at mobilebotanicalgardens.org.

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