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It's Time To Prune Trees

These lazy days of summer are not the time when you should be giving your garden the cold shoulder.

The Early Show resident gardener Charlie Dimmock shows how to tame an overgrown garden. She offers the following tips to take control of conifers, shrubs, perennials and weeds.

Conifers (Pine tree, Juniper, Cypress)
Many times conifers are too close together and they turn brown, which is not good. If they have gone brown, they will not grow in that area anymore, so you can prune them. Most of the time pruning looks strange, so you end up wanting to take them down.

Shrub
A shrub is overgrown when it is all over the place. The first thing you want to do with a shrub is to identify and take out all the dead material. Shrubs are dead when they have no leaves and are very brittle. The way you test, to make sure it is not just dormant, is with your nail.

Scrape the branch and if you can see green it is fine. At this time of year, shrubs may look dead, but they are just dry. If it is dead, it will be brown underneath and not green. It will also be brittle and snap very easily. When it is time to prune, take out all the dead parts. Then, if it still looks messy, take out anything that is looking sick. If it looks young and vigorous, leave it in. From there on, what you do is for aesthetics. You need to make sure shrubs look even, because many trims can make them look lopsided.
Perennial
These tend to grow in a circular pattern as they grow out. The center goes all dead; the strong growth is on the outside. You have to dig the entire plant up and throw away the center. You will have a donut shape. Break the live part into two-to-three pieces and replant. Instead of one, you will have two or three plants.

Weeds
You can get weed-suppressant matting. When you put it down, it stops weeds from growing. Don't put it over a place where weeds are. You need to get rid of the weeds first by using weed killer or digging them out.

Once you get rid of them, you can lay down the matting. If you don't get rid of the weeds, they will grow through the matting. Once all the weeds are removed, you can replant through the matting.