Middle South

May, 2007
Regional Report

Clever Gardening Technique

Prune Damaged Trees and Shrubs
Many hydrangeas, crape myrtles, Japanese maples, butterfly bushes, and other woody plants were damaged by last month's late freeze. They were already leafing out and the cold killed them back. Before pruning, examine the plants carefully -- you may see small sprouts on seemingly lifeless branches. Prune away any wood that doesn't show any sign of life by now. Even plants that were killed back entirely may be sprouting from the ground, however, so be patient.

Favorite or New Plant

Black Lace Elderberry
Black Lace elderberry (Sambucus nigra 'Eva') sports finely cut, purple-black foliage, creating a perfect backdrop for brightly colored flowers. Left unpruned, the shrub grows 6 to 8 feet tall, but it can be kept smaller with regular trimming. It can also be trained to a tree form. In June, Black Lace produces pink flower clusters with a slight lemony scent. The flowers are followed by edible fruit. Dramatic foliage, adaptable form, beautiful and fragrant flowers, and edible fruit. What more could you ask for in a shrub?

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