Discover the Fun of Gardening
August 23, 2018   
Click here if you are having trouble viewing.
Garden Tip   |   Featured Plants

Grandpa fig, pruned back almost 90%.

I made a boo-boo. I was so intent on doing one thing, that I didn't even think about how it was affecting something else. Fortunately, it's fixable. A few weeks ago, I told you that I surprised Kim and the girls with brand new veggie beds; building them while they were out of town. As I was digging holes for the corner posts and clearing out old soil for the new bed layout, I kept finding roots. One of our old veggie beds was full of fibrous brown roots, some thin and a few thick. They didn't look like they belonged to the tomato plants that have long since fizzled out, so I chopped away. There wasn't anything too close by, so I figured it was just some strange weed trying to infiltrate the veggie garden. In one instance I had to chop through a pretty good root - about 3/4" in diameter. But I was focused on the task at hand and didn't think much of it.

Until the next day. I popped home for lunch and because this particular week was super hot and dry, I went to check on our fruit trees. At first glance, everything seemed fine. But then my eyes landed on the fig tree. Not just any fig tree, our Grandpa Kerby fig tree. If you've shopped at Kerby's for a long time, you may remember the fig tree that was by the old house. The fig tree in our yard is a cutting from that old fig tree. We affectionately call it the 'Grandpa Fig' because the original tree was planted by Kim and Mark's grandfather. It's a tree that holds alot of memories. And as I looked at it, I realized it was in massive shock. It wasn't a tall tree, but it spread out about 4 feet in each direction, and all of the branches were loaded with ripening figs. Every leaf was brown and wilted. I couldn't understand why. It was a dry week, but it has been planted for a while and it seemed strange. And then I remembered the big-ole root that I'd cut. When I found the root and followed its direction, sure enough it led right to the fig tree. And I realized that all of those roots in the veggie bed were from the fig tree too. It grew it's roots 10 feet away to a bed that got plenty of water, and it had obviously relied on that for a continual supply. And I had cut it off.

I gave the tree a thorough soaking and pruned about half of the limbs off to see if it could recover. The next day it still looked really sad. So I pruned about 90% off, including all of the 2 dozen figs I was hoping to eat. And now, it's saved although it is small now (see the picture above), so we will still have a Grandpa Fig in our yard, but it sure will take some time to recover. And now I have to figure out how to keep it out of the new veggie beds. Nature always keeps you on your toes, doesn't it! 

Happy Gardening,
The Kerby's Nursery Family

Forward to a Friend

Dead-head to keep flowers blooming.
Garden Tip
Dead-heading: Cleaning up the Garden

Dead-heading doesn't mean hanging out at Graceful Dead concerts. It means making your flowers really pop. And it's simple. A little snip here, a little trim there and voila, your flowers will put out a fresh set of new blooms.

1) When to Dead-head - Do it anytime. In the heat, we avoid heavy pruning, but there is not a wrong time of year to dead-head. Whenever something is blooming heavily, wait a few days and go out and trim. 
2) Which Flowers to Dead-head - Blooms that are completely finished, mostly finished and even almost finished can go. Here is what happens. Plants have flowers to make seeds. It's for reproduction. So if a flower blooms, pollinates and closes, it will begin the process, as we say of 'going to seed'. At this point, energy from the plant is directed to this process of making seeds, and away from making new blooms. So if you prune a flower when it is past its peak beauty, but before it begins to go to seed, the plant continues to use its energy for blooms instead of seeds.
3) Plants to Dead-Head - There isn't anything you can't dead-head, but the ones that are the easiest are plants whose flowers are single-stemmed, not ones with clusters or long spires of flowers. Additionally, plants that only bloom once a year (think azaleas, camellias) don't need it. Short-lived flowers like petunias, hibiscus etc. aren't usually good candidates either. Roses, bush daisy, geraniums, coreopsis and blanket flower are just some of the many flowering plants that really benefit from dead-heading.
4) Use Liquid Fertilizer - A liquid fertilzer such as FoxFarm's Tiger Bloom used on a weekly basis, will help plants re-bloom. Since you want your plants to bloom as much as possible, give them the nutrients they need to do it. 
5) Get Outside - What are you waiting for? You know there is something in your yard that needs dead-heading. So grab the clippers and clean away the old blooms. Pretty soon the new flowers will have you smiling at your handiwork.

Is it Fall Yet?
Fall Combo

A delightful combo, perfect for making fall happen.

Beautiful flowers for pollinators.
6" Pot - $7.99
Dwarf Allamanda Topiary

Tree form of the beautiful dwarf allamanda.
Deco Pot - $21.99

Kerby's Nursery

2311 S. Parsons Ave.

Seffner, FL 33584
(813) 685-3265

Store Hours
Open Seven Days a Week
Monday - Saturday,  9am - 5:30pm
Sunday,  11am - 4pm
Labor Day, Monday, September 3, 9am - 12pm