Califonia Bountiful

Gardening Q&A

September/October 2020 California Bountiful magazine

As a California Bountiful reader, you have the opportunity to get your seasonal gardening questions answered by gardening expert Pat Rubin. Here are a few questions from our readers.



When should I trim my Japanese maple tree?

I usually wait until winter is firmly entrenched before doing any pruning, typically in December or January. Cut away any dead branches or twigs first. Next, cut away any branches that are crossed or rubbing each other. Step back and take a look. Often, this is all that's needed. Any additional trimming would be for shaping.

When do I cut back ornamental grasses?

Ornamental grasses such as miscanthus and Calamagrostis look beautiful as they develop fall colors. They aren't brilliant—mostly shades of gold—but they are striking. Leave them until December. By then, winter will have washed the colors away. Any later and the grasses will start to fall apart and become messy. Be careful when cutting them to the ground, because some have sharp edges. Their foliage is called blades for a reason!


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