2 questions

Asked October 2, 2020, 7:30 PM EDT

I have weeds in the garden, not really pulling kind. Have tried weed b gone, done nothing. Not sure I want to try super toxic stuff. Ideas? How do you trim a dogwood? With a hedge trimmer or lopper and how far can you cut down from top, it’s probably 8 feet tall. Thanks

Barnes County North Dakota

5 Responses


I need more information before I can recommend a strategy. What kind of garden do you have? Is it a flower garden or is it a vegetable garden? What kinds of weeds are you seeing? Are they grassy weeds or broadleaves like dandelion and thistle? Once I have this information, I can work with you on a management strategy. Unfortunately, Weed-B-Gone is not recommended for either type of garden.

As for pruning, you can use a variety of tools. When I trim dogwood, I normally use a hand pruners and a pruning saw. We do not recommend giving your shrub an even haircut across the top. To maximize the red stems that are so attractive in winter, we recommend cutting 1/3 of the oldest and grayest stems down to the base. After three years, you will have a much shorter plant that will have more of the attractive red stems.

I guess it’s mostly rock with some shrubs, maybe not a garden. As far as the dogwood I should cut 1/3 of total size of dogwood down to the base? is base considered 1 foot? It’s getting so tall I was thinking of cutting down a few feet evenly from top, but apparently that is incorrect.

With respect to the rock area in the first photo, you could use an herbicide that contains the active ingredient, glyphosate. This is the active ingredient in Roundup (original formulation--not the lawn formulation). Glyphosate will kill both broadleaf weeds and grassy weeds. The one caution is to avoid spraying your ornamental plants like your shrubs. Also, don't spray on a windy day. However, you seem to have a lot of area where there are no ornamental plants or shrubs. I would suggest spot spraying individual weeds. Do not spray the lawn because glyphosate will kill it.

With respect to your dogwood, thank you for the photos. That helps a lot! My initial recommendations (prune out 1/3 of the stems to just above the ground) was based on the assumption that you had a lot of old, woody stems that were gray. Yes, you can prune your dogwood back to the desired height during the dormant season. March or early April is preferred. Late October or November is the second best time. I also usually recommend removing a small number (3-5) of the oldest canes each year to the ground to rejuvenate the shrub and keep it smaller. Unfortunately, the bigger issue is the spacing between shrubs is too tight. Maybe the better recommendation is to dig out one of the shrubs and move it to another location where it will have room to grow.

Thanks, I cut it today to around 4 feet. I had a question about this crabapple tree, it’s about year old. The berries weighted down the branches so bad I cut the berries off with a scissor, is that the correct thing to do?

Yes, you may thin the crabapples particularly if they are weighing down a young tree.

One additional caution is to be aware that crabapple trees are susceptible to a bacterial disease called fireblight. This disease can be spread by pruning shears or scissors. Fortunately, the bacteria are not very active when temperatures are 45 degrees or less. We recommend that any pruning or cutting on a crabapple should occur in the dormant season (late fall or early spring) when temperatures are cooler.