Tuesday, March 24th, 2020

SEED STARTING FOR A NEW WORLD

There’s no better time to start seeds than now!

While we’re responsibly isolating at home, our new mission here at Shelmerdine is to offer ways for you and your loved ones to pass this time joyfully while connecting with nature! There are few acts that are filled with as much hope and promise as starting your own seeds at home. Within days, you’ll see tiny green baby sprouts emerging from the soil –  joy! A few more weeks and you’ll be thinning and repotting them – fun! Soon, with the sun on your face and your fingers in the soil, you’ll be planting these seedlings into your garden. And finally, in a moment where it feels like the whole world holds its breath for you, you’ll pluck the most gorgeous, juicy tomato off the vine, and bite into the crunchiest, sweetest carrot that you’ve ever tasted – life giving!

Just take a moment to imagine how good this make you will feel.

We’d be remiss not to observe how the Covid-19 pandemic has been a wakeup call in terms of how reliant we are on our food supply chain. Most of our fresh produce comes up from the US and Mexico, so as Canadians, our food supply chain is vulnerable. This moment in time is an opportunity to take control of how and where we get our food from. Wouldn’t you like to become more self-reliant, to save money, and to reap the healthy benefits of growing your own fruits and vegetables? Wouldn’t you love to legacy your children, and their children, with the skills and knowledge they need to grow their own food, today and forever?

Let’s start today!

1. Make a list of what you want to grow. This part is easy. What do you like to eat? Once you’ve decided this, it’s time to select the seed varieties you want to grow from our Shelmerdine Seed Starting Catalog. This is where the fun begins – there are so many varieties, from organic to heirloom and common everyday favorites. If you need ideas advice or ideas, ask your parents or grandparents – they have this knowledge and they would love to hear your voice right now!

2. Prepare the basics . . . 

SEED STARTING MIX is a special blend that’s ideal for sprouting seeds. You simply cannot expect successful germination of seeds without Seed Starting Mix. This lightweight blend holds enough water for seeds to germinate in, but allows essential oxygen to flow and delicate roots to easily penetrate the soil. Do not use regular potting soil, it’s just not fine enough for seeds to germinate and root in.

CONTAINERS can be anything from empty yogurt containers to small, inexpensive peat pots. Whatever you use, be sure to poke holes in the bottom for drainage, so that your seeds are not over-watered. Alternatively, you can plant directly into peat pellets – these little guys are amazing! They’re biodegradable and can be planted directly into the garden when the time comes. It’s also handy to set all of your seedling containers onto plastic trays so you can easily move them around and protect surfaces from water.

HEAT, not light, is needed for seeds to germinate.  Consider setting your containers on top of radiators, fridges, or ideally, a Heat Mat.   If your seeds don’t have enough warmth, they won’t germinate. Once planted, cover containers with a clear plastic dome, or with a layer of plastic film. Poke a few holes in the plastic with a toothpick for ventilation. This will create a biodome of heat for the seeds to germinate in.

MOISTURE is essential to seed starting. The best way to water seeds and seedlings is with a gentle spray bottle, like a reused windex bottle. They dispense water gently without causing too much soil disruption. You’ll have to check on your seedlings twice a day to make sure they don’t dry out. Set a timer so you don’t forget! The clear plastic dome or plastic film will also help to keep moisture in.

3. Timing is everything. Different seeds germinate at different rates, so you’ll want to start your seeds according to their ‘days to maturity’. This is the time it takes between germination and harvest time. Days to maturity is always indicated on the seed packet, but we highly suggest that you consult our favorite Seed Starting Chart before planting your seeds.

4. It’s time to plant! Fill your clean containers with moistened Seed Starting Mix. Next, plant your seeds at the depth listed on the seed packet, and cover them gently with a light layer of mix. We know you’re excited, but do not plant the whole packet at once! In most cases there are more seeds in the packet than the average household can manage at harvest time. Share excess seeds with your friends, or store them – most seeds can keep up to 3 years. Check on the seedlings daily, making sure to keep the seed starting mix moist but not saturated. Think of the mix as a damp sponge that contains both water and air.

5. Label your containers. This is very important. There’s nothing more frustrating than forgetting what you planted! Seedlings can look the same, and in order to plant out your garden you’ll need to know who is who!

6. Get ready for growth. Once the seedlings emerge from the soil, it’s time to move them into a bright, sunny spot for 6-8 hours of direct sun per day. Cool room temperatures are best for young seedlings. You’ll get sturdier, stockier seedlings if you grow them at temperatures in the high 60s. At higher room temperatures, seedlings may get leggy and weak. Using our favorite local and organic Seedling Fertilizer, start to fertilize once per week, once the sprouts have one or two sets of leaves.

7. Once seedlings have two sets of leaves, it’s time to thin. Unlike the hair on our heads, thinning seedlings is welcomed! You want one seedling per pot, so choose the healthiest, strongest-looking seedling to keep. Snip the other seedlings off at the soil line and discard them.

8. You got this! Our team is ready to take your orders for seeds and seed starting supplies! Call us at 204-895-7203 to place your order, or order using our Shelmerdine Seed Starting Catalog. Contactless curbside pickup is available Monday – Saturday from 10am – 4pm, and citywide delivery is also available.

We also want to encourage you to visit our friends at Westcoast Seeds in BC. They’re the most amazing humans, and their website is an absolute treasure chest of seed starting, veggie growing, and garden planning information.

Stay home, be safe! Sending you love, inspiration, and positivity!

Sunday, March 1st, 2020

SLEEPING WITH A SNAKE PLANT

Of all the plants that grace our greenhouse, one special plant rises above all others, and it’s the Snake Plant. The Snake Plant or Sansevieria (san-se-vi-ee’-ri-ah) is a tried-and-true houseplant that anyone can keep and enjoy.  But it’s also a superb air purifier that has the power to improve your sleep and change your life. Our team is so passionate about the benefits of Snake Plants, and here’s why!

Let’s talk about air quality.

Air quality is important – we all know this, but sometimes air quality escapes us. We don’t see it, so we don’t think about it. But the air in our homes can be a far greater source of unhealthy air than outdoor air pollution. This is especially true in Manitoba, where we tend to spend the majority of our year indoors.  Poor air quality in your home can effect your heart and lung health, hurt your sleep quality, and impact your mood, with children being even more succeptible to this than adults. The air we breath is as important as the food we eat.

Now, let’s step into the bedroom!

You will spend about 26 years of your life sleeping. Sleep disorders are on the rise, and one facet that effects our sleep is the air quality in our bedrooms. If you have to choose one room to focus on air quality, it should be the bedroom! So how exactly does keeping a Snake Plant in your bedroom improve the air quality? The Snake Plant is unique because it has the ability to perform a type of photosynthesis called Crassulacean Acid Metabolism. What this means is that it converts CO2 (carbon dioxide – the air you exhale) to O2 (oxygen – the air you inhale) – at night!  Most plants go throught this process during the day.  While the Snake Plant performs this oxygen producing function, it’s also filtering chemical toxins like formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, toluene, and benzene from the air. These are chemicals released by mattresses, bedding, furniture, carpeting, and paint, which we would otherwise inhale.

According to NASA’s Clean Air Study, the Snake Plant is so effective in producing oxygen that if you were locked in a sealed room with no airflow (yikes!), you would be able to survive with just 6-8 plants in it. NASA recommends 15 to 18 medium-to-large size plants for a 1,800 square-foot home for optimum air quality.

As if this plant weren’t amazing enough, it’s also the most durable of all plants to survive even the most unsuitable growing conditions, abuse and neglect that a plant could receive. Basically, you have to work really hard to kill a Snake Plant! It’s the perfect plant for apartments, dorm rooms, and of course, the bedroom. Purchasing a couple of these miracle plants will greatly enhance your sleep quality.  Try it for yourself!  We guarantee that you will notice a difference within a week or two.

Sweet dreams!

Sunday, February 16th, 2020

GROW: SQUEEZE IN SOME CITRUS

Hundreds of citrus plants have just arrived!

Picture it; you walk by the kitchen window, lean over, and pluck a ripe lemon from your very own tree. It’s possible! If you have a bright enough space, you could be squeezing your own citrus. A few mouth-watering windowsill kumquats, oranges, or lemons could be in your cards – even in Manitoba. Growing citrus is mildly challenging, but the rewards are worth it, so we encourage you to challenge your green thumb!

Read on for our tips on how to successfully grow citrus indoors . . .

You GOT this!  Just have patience . . . and faith!

First comes flowers, then comes fruit. The fragrance of citrus flowers is a perfume beyond anything you can imagine! The flower is the part of the plant which develop into fruit, so a citrus tree needs to be of sufficient size to be able to successfully support a crop of fruit on its branches. This is a natural process that takes time, but when that fruit finally appears, you’ll be beaming with gardeners pride, not to mention boasting rites!  Fun fact; the average lifespan of a citrus tree is approximately 50 years, so when you take home a citrus plant, you can consider it a new friend for life.

HOW TO GROW CITRUS INDOORS

Here are our top tips on how to grow citrus plants. For even more information, visit our friends down in Florida!

LIGHT  What citrus really requires is a bright window that has generous dimensions. A south-facing window or sliding glass doors are ideal, but a well-lit east or west-facing window can do the job. Do NOT invest in a citrus plant if you don’t have enough light. To achieve a citrus plant that’s laden with flowers and fruit, ample indoor light and space are essential, and to make your citrus even happier, bring it outdoors in the summer!

POTTING  Citrus like to be slightly root-bound in their pots.  If it becomes overly root-bound or its pot cracks, repot the plant in the springtime only.  Transplant 2” (up one pot size at a time) or you may run the risk of rutting the roots with too much soil.

TEMPERATURE  Citrus thrive in the same temperatures as humans. If temperatures drop below 10°C , your citrus plant will fail to absorb the nutrients that it needs in order to set flowers.

NUTRITION  Citrus are hungry plants, and they react quickly when you fail to serve up sufficient food. Yellow leaves are the telltale sign of a starving citrus. Although most houseplants do not require fertilizing in late autumn and winter, citrus are the exception. If you go organic, deliver diluted fish emulsion throughout the year – once every two to three weeks seems to work well. Winter light levels are low, so dilute the fertilizer more than the recommended dose.

WATERING  Citrus are thirsty plants! When the furnace or air conditioner is running and the sun is shining, they might need water daily, and when citrus plants are in bloom or actively growing, their watering needs increase. We suggest using a moisture meter to monitor the soil. Water when the soil is slightly dry, but not bone dry. If your citrus plant gets too dry, it will drop its flowers before developing fruit. If your home is very dry, your citrus will demonstrate its discomfort by dropping leaves. You can combat this by running a humidifier. Yellow leaves are a sign that you are over-watering.  During winter months, sunlight levels lessen, so you will need to reduce and change your watering schedule accordingly.

Life is juicy!

Sunday, February 16th, 2020

2020 – HERE WE GROW!

1937.  Picture it…the population of Winnipeg was a mere 250,000. The Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco opened. A crippling drought on the Prairies had us in the grips of the Great Depression.  And a little company called Shelmerdine was founded in Charleswood, the very same year as Air Canada, Volkswagen and Dairy Queen! We’re entering into our 83rd year in business, so we’re feeling a bit nostalgic for all the wonderful people, warm memories, and lasting friendships that have blessed us at Shelmerdine.

83 years in the plant industry doesn’t happen by accident! We believe that our longevity is the result of incredible people, innovative thinking, some risk-taking (you mean Shelmerdine sells CLOTHES?!), and most importantly, the best customers in the world!  Our talented team constantly brainstorms, researches, collaborates, and looks to the future, all so that we can offer you an incredible experience, everytime you visit Shelmerdine. 2020 will be no exception to that!

So here we go! Read on to discover what’s new . . .

Shelmerdine Plant Lounge

COME HANG OUT IN OUR NEW PLANT LOUNGE

We’ve dedicated a section of our warm and sunny greenhouse as a cozy Plant Lounge. This is a space where you’re invited to just enjoy and relax in, where you can connect with yourself, reconnect with friends, or just feel a connection with nature. The Plant Lounge is the perfect place to escape the winter and just feel amazing! Come in as often as you like, and stay as long as you wish! Trust us – you’ll love it!

OUR COMMITMENT TO THE ENVIRONMENT – AND TO YOU

Our team is proud to announce these initiatives that we’ve taken to protect our environment – with more to come!

  • All of our packaging materials are 100% reusable, recyclable, or biodegradable, so if we need to wrap your purchases, you can feel good about how we do it.
  • Throughout our entire building and greenhouses, we’ve switched our lighting system to low-emitting LED lights.
  • Behind the scenes in our growing ranges, we’re growing more and more tropical plants by propagation. For example, many of the Pothos, Ivy, and Fiddle Leaf Figs that you see in our greenhouse are grown right here, instead of being imported from Florida. You can feel good about the fact that these plants were not trucked in on fuel guzzling semi-trucks.
  • Mark your calendar! We’re having a Recycling Event on June 20 and 21, so you can recycle all of your plastic gardening pots with us.  The City of Winnipeg doesn’t accept gardening plastics, but we’ve partnered with a local business who specializes in recycling plastics. We hope to save thousands upon thousands of plastic pots from the landfills on this weekend, and you’ll get a very special treat from us for taking part!

JOIN US FOR OUR FREE PLANT TALKS

Our passion for plants makes us want to keep sharing our knowledge, so we have an exciting roster of Free Plant Talks planned for you! Whether you’re new to plants, or you’re an avid gardener, you’ll learn a few new things from our experts while basking in the sunny greenhouse. Click HERE to see the full line-up!

SHARE YOUR LOVE OF PLANTS

We want to make the world a better place, one plant at a time. Plants make us feel connected, healthier and happier, and we all know that the world needs more of that.  If you’re reading this, it’s likely that you’re a gardener or plant lover on some level, but chances are that you know someone who doesn’t own a single plant. So we encourage YOU to bring plants into that person’s life! Invite them over to help you plant your garden, give them a gift of their first houseplant, or visit our greenhouse with them. These simple acts have the power to change someone’s life for the better, and 2020 is a great year to share and to connect!

Come on in! The sun is always shining at Shelmerdine, and we can’t wait to share our love of plants with you!

Monday, November 19th, 2018

Inspiration: Decorating with Holiday Greenery

There are many things to love about the holiday season, but if you ask us, one of the very best parts is seasonal decorating! It’s probably no surprise that fresh greenery is our favourite way to get into the holiday spirit, and to get you started we’ve put together a few tips on how to decorate your own home with fresh greenery:

Starting early? Choose greenery that lasts.

Pine, fir, and cedar dry slowly and retain needles well in indoor temperatures, making these a great choice if you can’t wait to get festive. Hemlock and spruce are better used for outdoor decorations, such as urns.

Use pruning shears, floral wire, and floral foam to construct the look you’re after.

Use boughs of pine, fir, or cedar for swags above doors, garlands along banisters or mantels, table displays, wreaths… wherever you want to use fresh greenery to warm up a space! Take some time to create the shape you want by trimming with your pruning shears, and use florist wire to secure pieces together for your desired length, shape, and volume. Floral foam can be used to create beautiful container arrangements.  

Embellish with add-ons like pinecones, branches, or lights.

Once you have the basic shape of your greenery achieved, add texture, colour, and interest with some additional items. Natural materials like pinecones and branches – especially branches with colour like red dogwood, red willow, birch, or ones with dried berries – or items like lights, ribbons, or bells can add some magic to your arrangement. Are you going for a rustic, country look? Use natural pinecones, rusted bells, and branches. Do you prefer more glitz and glam? Go for glittery ribbon and glass baubles.

Mist or water your greenery to keep it fresh all season long.

Keep your greenery as humid as possible with frequent misting. If your arrangement includes a container filled with floral foam, water the container daily so that your greenery has lots to drink. Avoid placing greenery near floor vents, and if you decorate the fireplace mantle, remember that the heat will dry your arrangement out more quickly. It’s best to place this as close to Christmas as possible.

Find more beautiful holiday greenery inspiration on our Christmas at Shelmerdine Pinterest board right here.

Get creative, and enjoy the process!

Friday, October 26th, 2018

Outdoor Living: Backyard Birding in Fall and Winter

While many people put out seed and fill bird baths in the spring and summer, caring for birds tends to be largely forgotten when the leaves turn and the snow flies – a shame, because at this time of year it is actually more important than ever to look out for the birds. The tough birds that stick around for our cold and snowy months have many ways of coping, like growing extra feathers or huddling together for warmth.

Here are some ways to support and encourage bird activity in your backyard over the fall and winter:

Food

As you can imagine, finding adequate food sources is a lot trickier for birds over winter than during the summer, so keeping your feeders full is a big help. Some birds actually store food for the winter, while others adapt by changing from a diet of insects to one of seeds, nuts, and berries.

In order to attract the widest variety of birds, place several feeders with different types of seed around your yard. A mixture containing a good percentage of sunflower or safflower seeds (or both!) is a good place to start.

Birds need grit – small, hard objects such as small pebbles, eggshells, and coarse sand – in order to digest their food, and in winter, snow tends to cover natural sources of grit, making it harder to find. You can help out by ensuring that the seed mixture you provide includes this, or by adding an extra-fine grit to your seed mix in the winter.

Birds that winter in Manitoba include:

  • grouse
  • hawks
  • owls
  • pigeon
  • woodpeckers
  • crows
  • jays
  • chickadees
  • nuthatches
  • waxwings
  • shrikes
  • sparrows
  • finches

In addition to stocking feeders, you can also help out by planting shrubs and trees that provide berries for birds during their migration in fall, as well as for those who stay throughout the winter.

Trees and shrubs for fall and winter berries:  

  • chokecherry
  • snowberry
  • mountain ash
  • hawthorne
  • juniper
  • cedar

Shelter

Whether natural or artificial, providing areas of shelter and protection will entice birds to turn your yard into their winter home. Including evergreen trees and shrubs in your landscaping will provide great year-round shelter. If your yard allows, leave a dead tree standing to attract woodpeckers and owls over the winter, or pile deadfall together with some brush to provide another place for birds to hide.

Birdhouses can be used over the winter as well. Mount birdhouses on a tree if possible, facing the entry away from the most bitter winds – in Manitoba, it’s best to face the entry toward the south or southwest. Make sure there is a clear flight path to the entry. As part of your fall yard work, clean out old nesting material and plug ventilation holes to insulate the house over winter.

Water

Outdoor water fixtures normally get shut down for the winter, but a dripping water source is still the number one way to attract birds, even during the coldest months. Pick up a birdbath water heater to keep your birdbath free of ice.

Find more tips for fall and winter yard prep on our blog like planting fall bulbs and fall pruning 101, and be sure to check out our printable fall gardening checklist.

Be a friend to birds this winter!

Monday, October 1st, 2018

Our Gardens: The Joy of Planting Fall Bulbs

Don’t put away your gardening gloves just yet – this time of year when the leaves are turning and the temperature is cooling happens to be the right time to plant bulbs that will bring your garden to life with that first burst of colour in the spring. To get you inspired, here’s a look at some of our favourite fall bulbs:

Allium

Onions, shallots, and garlic are members of the allium family, but there are many ornamental alliums that will add beautiful variety to your perennial garden. They come in a range of colours and heights, and they don’t need a lot of space to do well.

Planting guide: 6” deep if near a heated building; 6-8” deep if away from buildings

Browse alliums  

Crocus

Crocuses will pop up even when there’s still a little snow on the ground, making them a must-have if you really long for spring each year. You can plant crocuses around your yard or even in your lawn to add interest – they’ll finish blooming by the time you need to cut the grass, and the leaves should be left to die back naturally in order to replenish the bulb’s nutrients.

Planting guide: 6” deep regardless of placement

Browse crocuses

Daffodil

There are few things in life as cheery as a daffodil. Daffodils are hardy and easy to grow, which probably accounts for their ubiquitousness come springtime.  

Planting guide: 8-10” deep, near a heated building

Browse daffodils   

Hyacinth

Fragrances are a big part of spring’s appeal, and hyacinths are one of the most fragrant options available. Because these bulbs won’t survive outdoors in our climate, you’ll need to force them indoors. Head over to this post to see a simple breakdown of this process.

Planting guide: Force indoors

Browse hyacinths  

Iris

Beautiful and showy irises are versatile, dependable, and easy to grow. They like a sunny location best, so take a little care in finding the perfect spot.  

Planting guide: 4” deep if near a heated building; 4-5” deep if away from buildings

Browse irises

Tulip

To say tulips are popular is an understatement. There are literally thousands of varieties and new ones are cultivated every year, so take some time to see what’s out there!

Planting guide: 6-8” deep if near a heated building; 8-10” deep if away from buildings

Browse tulips

The options mentioned here are just a few of the most popular fall bulbs, and you can always visit our garden centre to see more varieties that are available. Experimenting with new bulbs each fall gives you a little something special to look forward to in the spring!

See our printable Fall Gardening Checklist for some tips on how to take care of your garden, yard, and lawn this fall.

Embrace fall planting, and see the payoff next spring!

Monday, October 1st, 2018

Grow: Trees and Shrubs for Fall Colour

Autumn is a beautiful season when we get to enjoy many colours that don’t show up throughout the rest of the year. And while summer usually gets all of the glory in this department, fall is actually a great time for gardening! The ground is still warm, which plants love, and the air is not as hot, which is more comfortable for us while working outdoors.

The pigment that causes the vibrant colours we see in fall is actually present in the leaves of your favourite trees and shrubs throughout the year, we just can’t see it until chlorophyll production slows and eventually stops in the fall. Fall colours can vary from plant to plant and even from year to year, and taking advantage of the changing colours is the best way to extend your gardening season and enjoy your yard for as long as possible! Below are some suggestions for trees and shrubs that will add vibrancy to your autumn view, with links to our Plant Finder so that you can take a closer look at your favourites.

Shrubs for Fall Colour

Barberry

A rounded plant with arching branches that develop outstanding fall colour, barberry is an ideal shrub to use as an accent plant.

Amur Maple

We love the fine-branched, compact, and rounded form of amur maple for borders, hedges, or foundation planting. We also love the beautiful orange-red fall colours it produces!

Saskatoon

In addition to pretty white flowers in spring and delicious berries in summer, this mounded shrub turns a range of stunning yellow-orange to red colours in the fall, even when growing in shade.

Burning Bush

There’s a reason for the name of this shrub – the brilliant red fall colour is gorgeous, and in the winter the corky bark will add some interest to your yard as well.

Hydrangea

Who doesn’t love a hydrangea?! This showy landscape shrub will flower right up until the first frost, and will change colour as the weather cools.

Sumac

All sumacs display beautiful, red fall colour. The mature size can vary greatly depending on the variety, so you’ll find lots of flexibility with this shrub.

Spirea

The spirea is a wonderful all-season plant with something to appreciate year-round: showy flowers, beautiful summer foliage, and crimson fall colour.

Cranberry

Most cranberry shrubs prefer a part-shade location and moist soil, and if you find the right spot you’ll get to see its beautiful crimson fall leaves.

Trees for Fall Colour:

Maple

There are many varieties of maple, and all have outstanding fall colours.

Birch

Paper Birch are native to parts of Manitoba, which makes them a great choice to include in your yard. The birch has beautiful exfoliating bark and a bright gold fall colour.

Dogwood

Dogwood is a lovely ornamental tree that flowers in the spring and produces berries in the fall that last through winter. The fall leaves are a reddish purple colour.

Honeylocust

The beautiful lacy foliage of a honeylocust turns a pretty medium-yellow in the fall.

Oak

Pin Oaks are especially good for fall colour, with pyramid-shaped crowns that have a yellow to copper red colour. As a bonus, the leaves may actually hang on through winter rather than falling off completely.

Linden or Basswood

The bright green heart-shaped leaves of linden or basswood trees turn a pretty yellow in the fall. These are great trees for boulevards and shade.

Whether you’re brimming with ideas or are looking for a little advice, visit our outdoor sales yard to get what you need to fill your yard with fall colours! There’s still plenty of time to get outdoors and enjoy your outdoor space. While you’re out there, here are some tips for fall pruning.

Welcome here, autumn!

Monday, September 3rd, 2018

How-To: Fall Pruning 101

As the seasons start to change, so do the outdoor tasks around our yards, and fall is the perfect time to prune back your landscape plants. If you’re new to pruning, it can be a little intimidating – after all, you don’t want to damage your tree or plant – but proper pruning is critical for establishing healthy looking plants and for maintaining an attractive landscape.

To get you started, we’ve gathered some advice to help you prune like a pro, no matter how new you are with the shears.

Proper tools

The right equipment will not only make your job easier, it will also protect the long-term health of the tree. Clean cuts heal well, while rough, jagged cuts make the plant more susceptible to disease.

  • For twigs and branches 1 inch or less in diameter: A good pair of sharp pruning shears is best for cutting smaller twigs and branches. Bypass pruners make clean cuts and are usually small enough to manoeuvre easily, making these the most popular choice.
  • For branches up to 2.5 inches in diameter: For this size of branch, a pair of loppers is recommended. Loppers have long handles that provide more reach, perfect for getting to the center of larger trees and shrubs.
  • For branches larger than 2.5 inches in diameter: For these bigger jobs, choose a hand pruning saw, which will make a clean cut that will heal nicely. Make sure you choose a saw that is large enough for the branches you want to cut.

Proper technique

Here are some pruning dos and don’ts that will make sure you’re helping and not harming your tree or plant:

  • Prune up to 25% of branches, all the way around. This type of pruning will promote dense growth on most trees and shrubs, but you should never remove more than one third of the total branches, or more than one third of the crown. It is ok to remove a whole branch if it is damaged or infected.
  • It’s a good idea to sterilize your pruners or saw after every cut. This can be done with a solution of 1:1 bleach and water. Using tree paint to seal a wound is not necessary, and often not recommended.
  • Pruning for most deciduous trees should be done while the tree is dormant. This means any time after the leaves have dropped in the fall and throughout early spring, before there are signs of new growth.
  • Maple and birch should be pruned during the summer while there is less sap to seep out.
  • Evergreens should not be pruned in the fall. Rather, prune evergreens in late spring to early summer after new growth has started – mid-June is usually best.
  • Fruit-bearing trees should do not be pruned all the way around. As mentioned earlier, this type of pruning promotes denseness, which in this case will inhibit fruit production. Fruit trees should be thinned to allow sun exposure and air circulation, resulting in the best crop possible. Suckers that are growing from the base of the tree or around the trunk should also be removed, as they will steal energy from fruit production.
  • Spring-flowering bushes and shrubs such as lilacs should be pruned as soon as flowers fade in the spring. These kinds of plants flower on old growth, so pruning at this time will give the plant time to produce new flower buds before next spring. If you prune in the fall, you might not have flowers the following spring.

Pruning Large or Heavy Branches

When pruning a branch with buds that alternate along the length, cut above the growth bud at a 45 degree angle, with the lowest point of the cut opposite the bud and even with it; the highest point about 1/4 inch above the bud.

When pruning a branch with buds that grow opposite each other in pairs, make a flat cut above the buds.

When pruning larger limbs (2″ diameter or more), there is a technique involving a series of three cuts that will prevent damage to the tree as the limbs fall.

We’re here to help!

If you still have questions about pruning for your particular plants or trees, we’re happy to offer you some advice! Just get in touch with our gardening experts, or come see us in person. And now that you’ve started thinking about fall gardening, take a look at our printable Fall Gardening Checklist to make sure you’re ready to start settling your yard in for another fall and winter.

Don’t be intimidated by pruning – you’ve got this!  

Thursday, August 30th, 2018

Our Gardens: Help Your Garden Beat the Heat!

While most plants enjoy a certain amount of sun, very few can tolerate high temperatures for too long without extra help. Vegetables will wilt quickly, and crops like lettuce may bolt and end up tasting bitter. As that summer heat wave rolls on, here are a few things you can do to protect your garden:

1. Don’t water during the heat of the day.

A deep watering in the morning or evening will guarantee that water gets down to the roots of your plants and doesn’t simply evaporate off the soil surface.

2. Try an automated timer.

Automated timers for sprinklers and hoses are ideal for watering late at night or while you’re away on holidays. Try a simple-to-use water timer that attaches to your faucet or garden hose, no batteries needed.

3. Give vegetables an extra drink when it’s extra hot.

Keep a close eye on annuals and vegetables for wilting – when temperatures really soar, these plants may need an extra bit of water to help them through the day. If that is the case, use your watering can to water close to the roots, and avoid splashing water on the leaves.

4. Soaker hoses will save water and money.

Obviously, watering is essential if you want your garden to thrive in heat, but all that moisture can come at a cost. A soaker hose can save from 30-70% water usage!

5. Rain water is best – collect it with a rain barrel!

Rain water is soft, pure, aerated, the perfect temperature, and free! Catch it with a rain barrel that can be attached right to your hose for easy watering.

6. Fertilize regularly for strong roots that take up water.

Watering with a fertilizer like Myke at regular intervals will encourage root growth. Deeper, stronger roots mean plants can take up more water and better stand against those long, hot summer days.

7. Keep moisture in soil with mulch or landscape fabric.

The best garden mulches are wood and bark chips, because they absorb moisture, as opposed to rock or stone. Soaking thick layers of newspaper can also work as a temporary water-retaining mulch while you’re on holidays! Mulches and fabrics will also help to keep weeds at bay, and will protect plants from damage during the winter.  

8. Plant some shade!

If you need to plant shade-loving plants in a sunny garden, you can try blocking them with leafy, sun-loving plants. If you really finding it tough to keep up with watering during the summer, take a long-term strategy and plant a shade tree in a strategic location to help you out.

Talk to our experts for advice on types of trees and how and where to plant for the best results, or use our Plant Finder tool to dig up the best options for your garden.

Be proactive for a healthy garden, all summer long!

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Shelmerdine Garden Centre Ltd.

7800 Roblin Boulevard
Headingley, MB R4H 1B6

Phone: 204.895.7203
Fax: 204.895.4372
Email: info@shelmerdine.com