Gardening column: Proceed with pruning care

February is the time to think ahead to encourage growth

February is the time to get out the pruning tools to encourage healthy growth throughout the season. 

This month is a great time to prune buddleia (butterfly bush), summer flowering shrubs such as Fuchsia magellanica and C-type clematis that bloom after June. 

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Pruning wisteria and campsis (trumpet vine) to within two or three buds will encourage beautiful blooms and healthy foliage. Cut back raspberry canes and other fruit bushes at this time also.

When it comes to pruning trees, unless you know what you are doing, you are best to leave this job to the experts. 

You only have to drive around Richmond to see the damage done on so many of our trees by unqualified contractors or homeowners.  Many of these trees are so poorly pruned they will most likely suffer a fatal conclusion very quickly.

We also continue to see large tracts of land in Richmond metamorphosing into condos and massive single family homes. 

In the early stages of preparing the land, existing trees are surrounded with the protective orange netting giving us all a sense that these precious trees will be saved. But not far into the development the land is stripped bare.

A quote from Bill Vaughn says it all:  “Suburbia is where the developer bulldozes out the trees, then names the streets after them.”

Imagine a world without trees. Trees provide social, environmental and economic benefits for years to come. 

Social benefits go beyond enjoying trees — they offer us a sense of peace, harmony and calming effect when around them. The serenity we feel can reduce stress, fatigue and even decrease recovery time from surgery.

Environmental benefits include improving the air we breathe, moderating our climate, reducing stormwater runoff and protecting wildlife.

Economic benefits of trees include providing shade which can lower cooling costs for your home and reduce heating costs in the winter by acting as a windbreak.

Richmond Garden Club is presenting a Winter Gardening Series at the Brighouse branch of the Richmond Public Library. 

Join us Monday, Feb. 20 at 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. to learn the basics of pruning trees and shrubs, presented by arborist Mike Nugent, Bartlett Tree Experts, on behalf of the Richmond Garden Club. To register, visit online at, or call 604-231-6413.

So, don’t touch your trees until you have learned how to do it or how to hire the right contractor to do the work. 

Lynda Pasacreta is the current president of the Richmond Garden Club.  For more information, go online

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