This broadleaf evergreen needs little pruning, but when it is done, should only be done in early spring before any new growth begins. Prune branch tips back to increase density and direct the plants growth. Touch up can be done in summer, if needed, until mid July.
Young shrubs respond very well to fertilizing. Either granular, liquid or stake type fertilizers can be used. Granular fertilizers can be worked into the soil around the plant at a rate of 2 lbs or 2 pints per 100 square feet of planting bed. This method of fertilization should only be done once a year, and is best done in late fall after leaf drop, or in early spring before bud break. Multi Purpose 10-10-10 Fertilizer by Greenview works well.
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Liquid fertilizers (such as Miracle Gro ) are mixed with water and applied the same as you would water the plant (see product for specific details). This should be done three or four times per year starting in late April and ending in mid July. Stake type fertilizers can be used following the directions on the package. With any of the above techniques, a balanced mixture should be used; 20-20-20 or similar mix is a good choices. Organic fertilizers, like manure, can also be used with good results. The material should be worked into open soil at a rate of one bushel per 6’ of shrub or 100 square feet of bed area. As a plant matures, less fertilizing will be needed.
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Rabbits can do a great deal of damage to this plant in the winter. The plants can be protected with a fence formed with hardware cloth (looks like chicken wire but with small square holes). To do this, the plants branches should be tied in towards the center, and a circle of hardware cloth can be placed around the outside. The base of the hardware cloth should be buried in the soil or mulch. This protection should be installed in late November and removed in mid April.
These evergreens will perform well through most winters. In severe winters, however, they may discolor, but will bounce back in spring. Winter protection may be needed, however, for the first few years after installation, or if the plant has been under stress. To protect the plant, spray it with an anti-transpirant (such as Wilt-Pruf) in mid to late November. The timing for this application can be somewhat tricky. The temperature must be above 40 degrees, and it cannot rain on the plant after the product has been applied. The plant can also be protected by wrapping it in burlap, or enclosing it in a burlap tent. This form of protection will keep the wind and sun off, but will not cut off air flow or trap heat, which can be harmful to the plant. A burlap tent is made by setting three wooden stakes into the ground around the plant and stapling burlap to it on all three sides. The top of this tee-pee like structure should be left open. If the plant is in open soil it should be mulched and get a good watering in early November if the soil is dry. Watering in late fall is very impotent for the winter health of any evergreen and should be done to young plants every year in early November. Even more mature plants can benefit from late season waterings, especially after a dry fall season.
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