Questions on: Nannyberry
Ron Smith, Horticulturist, NDSU Extension Service
Q: We have a hedge that lines our downtown park in Casselton. I would like to trim it next spring. A gentleman who was involved in the planting of the hedge more than 20 years ago told me that they are a variety of shrub called nannyberry. The hedge runs the length of the park. We have a difference of opinion concerning how the hedge should be maintained. In past years, we trimmed the hedge up the sides so it didn't get too bushy and interfere with our spring and summer mowing. I would like to cut the hedge down to a more manageable height of 5 or 6 feet, and maintain it there. My colleague says that type of planting is not designed to be trimmed in this manner. My guess is that it is a matter of personal taste, but I don't want to damage the hedge. Please also let me know if spring is indeed the best time to do the trimming. We plan on having some other landscape work done in the park this spring and it would be helpful if the hedge work is done prior to the landscaping. Thanks and keep up the great work with NDSU and your column. (e-mail reference)
A: Most hedges, such as cotoneaster, honeysuckle, forsythia and privet, can be pruned. This is a native plant of different characteristics. Justice couldn't be done to it by giving it a shearing the same as a hedge. To control the height and spread, trim out the oldest canes back to the base of the plant. This will help the plants retain their natural form and not give them a manicured look, which I seriously doubt they could survive. Thanks for your very kind words. They are very encouraging. I try my best.
Q: My nannyberry shrubs have been infested with white scale insects the last two falls. I have cut off and burned all the infested stems, but the instects come back. This year I made up a gallon batch of Oil-Away, but it clogged my sprayer after a couple of minutes. I cleaned up the sprayer and started to use a brush to put the oil on, but that will take forever. Can you tell me the best way to get the oil on my shrub? (Fessenden, N.D.)
A: I don't know why the oil wouldn't work in your sprayer, but rather than fighting it I would suggest going with a systemic like Orthene.
Then during the summer after new growth has begun to harden off, get what is known as a superior oil spray from a local garden center or mail order. These oils are formulated for use during summer months without negative effects!
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