Contact Us Host an Event 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

Damage from Hurricane Irene in Burgaw, NC
August 27, 2011 - We live in Burgaw, NC and have begun the clean up efforts of Hurricane Irene which has made a full grown crape myrtle lean to one side. Its a very large tree and it is not uprooted. Is there anyway ...
view the full question and answer

Trimming American beautyberry in Austin
December 20, 2009 - I have recently developed an interest in plants and since I work for a country club taking care of all the House & Grounds Maintenance, the landscaping is certainly a part of my work. I have a questi...
view the full question and answer

Eastern redcedar uprooted by snow in Arlington, TX
February 14, 2010 - During the recent snowstorm one of our juniperus virginiana fell over with the rootball looking intact and with a lot of soil all around it.Should we try to save it? It is approximately 20 feet tall ...
view the full question and answer

Trimming oaks and elms from New Braunfels TX
June 20, 2012 - I would like to trim my live oaks and elm trees at the same time, if possible. I think they are American Elms. When is the best time to do this and avoid oak wilt and Dutch elm disease? Should all c...
view the full question and answer

Pruning Roughleaf dogwood
November 28, 2013 - We put 5 rough-leaf dogwoods along our side deck; having been told (by the local, natural plant seller) that they would reach a maximum height of 6 feet. They have grown taller than that (despite som...
view the full question and answer

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