En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - October 27, 2010

From: Rogers City, MI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Pruning
Title: Need pruning advice in northern Michigan
Answered by: Marilyn Kircus

QUESTION:

Is it OK to prune my evergreen bushes and holly in October in northern Michigan?

ANSWER:

Our range of expertise is in plants native to North America and to the area in which the plants are being grown.  Most of them don't need much pruning unless you are pruning them up into a tree or removing damaged limbs.  For non-native evergreens, Michigan State University has an excellent discussion here. And you should also be able to use this information for your native evergreens since it is talking about the various sub-groups of evergreens.

Once you identify your evergreen type(s), just follow the instructions.

The only Michigan native holly I can find is Ilex verticillata (Common winterberry); however, it is the only holly that is NOT evergreen, although it has wonderful red berries for the birds and Winter color. You definitely would not want to prune off the developing berries.  Hollies rarely need any pruning,  just prune off dead branches or lightly prune a branch that is not growing correctly. Here is another pruning article from Michigan that gives good advice and shows how to thin out shrubs that need thinning.

 

From the Image Gallery


Common winterberry
Ilex verticillata

Common winterberry
Ilex verticillata

Common winterberry
Ilex verticillata

More Pruning Questions

Problems with Blackfoot Daisy from Lewisville, TX
April 23, 2013 - I planted a row of Melampodium leucanthum (Blackfoot Daisy) last spring at the front of the front yard, next to the sidewalk. It's full sun, east facing, unamended black clay gumbo soil. I put mulc...
view the full question and answer

Will catalpa roots damage a nearby swimming pool?
July 13, 2013 - Will a catalpa tree cause problems to my swimming pool? It is 8 feet away and I cut all the branches off every fall. It then grows back to about 6 feet in diameter an makes a great garden feature but ...
view the full question and answer

Pruning of non-native oxblood lilies from Austin
March 27, 2014 - My Oxblood Lilies flowered quite late last Fall. Their foliage is still very green. Can I cut it down now or do I have to wait until it goes brown?
view the full question and answer

Tree with no invasive roots for Los Angeles
July 24, 2011 - I have a large in ground planter sharing the outside wall (on south/east corner) of my house in east LA 90032. I would like to find a tree that grows quite tall (2 story building), but grows roots ver...
view the full question and answer

Lilies not blooming from Austin
May 03, 2013 - Last December 8, you published a letter in the Statesman that I had written to you regarding Rain Lilies, Oxblood Lilies, and Copper Lilies. The were sprouting in my garage in a bag. You recommended...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center