Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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

Clipping of beans from newly planted Tecoma stans
April 22, 2008 - I purchased a Esperanza Plant in a pot from a nursery in April of 2008. We planted it and it is doing fine, but came with blooms and beans. Do I need to do clip or prune the beans at this stage of g...
view the full question and answer

Can I trim back my 20 ft Yucca plant?
May 11, 2009 - I have a yucca tree which is about 20 ft. tall, has four main trunks. I would like to prune it to approx. 10 ft. but wonder if that will kill it or if new shoots will come out up near the cut.
view the full question and answer

Pruning and deadheading rosa rugosa while blooming
August 01, 2008 - Can you prune the dead flowers and branches of rosa rogosa while it is still blooming?
view the full question and answer

Pruning of Grape Kool Aid Plant in California
August 03, 2008 - I have a Grape Kool Aid plant and was told it would grow to 6 or 7 feet tall, but it is well over that and I need to know if I can prune it and if so how?
view the full question and answer

Shearing Pink Skullcaps
September 21, 2014 - My pink skullcap plants keep dying. The ones that are still alive are about 3 years old, but have large sections of dry twigs. Do I shear them and hope they come back or are they gone? I live in Helot...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.