Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Be Careful Trimming Shrubs to Get More Blooms

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Be Careful Trimming Shrubs to Get More Blooms

Article excerpt

Byline: PAULA LAMB

I have some plumbagos and hibiscus. If I prune them throughout the growing season, will they bloom better?

This would depend on the type of pruning that you want to do. Stem-pruning will not help the blooming process. Tropical plants such as plumbago and hibiscus as well as others such as fire bush, bottle brush and shrimp plant produce flowers on new growth. If you stem-prune them, it will take awhile for the new growth to produce flowers.

To encourage more flowering on these plants, remove the spent blooms, a process similar to the deadheading of annuals and perennials. Leaving spent blooms on the plant encourages seed production and discourages flower production.

We have an old, historically designated Southern magnolia that seems to have some type of wound. It is about 2 feet long and several inches wide. It oozes a black, glistening substance and attracts flies. What should we do?

Thank goodness I have a an expert to call upon when faced with tree problems that I am unfamiliar with.

You sent pictures to Larry Figart, our urban forestry agent, and he identified the condition as slime flux. While this may sound like something out of a "Twilight Zone" episode, it really isn't all that scary.

As you have experienced, slime flux is more common on older trees and starts to appear when the weather warms up. Most often the tree has experienced a wound or injury. This gives rise to a condition which occurs inside the tree called wetwood. Wetwood occurs when bacteria start to invade the tree at the site of the injury.

Once the bacteria start their work, it causes a fermentation that produces methane gas, creating pressure within the tree. Its outlet is the wound.

When the bacteria-laden liquid reaches the air outside, it plays host to yeast-like fungi and other organisms, giving rise to a foul smell. …

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