If you have a question about gardening in the Birmingham area, ask John. John Floyd has been gardening–and learning about gardening–for more than 30 years. In addition to his day-to-day experience in the garden, John has degrees in horticulture, plant taxonomy, and plant physiology from Auburn and Clemson Universities and was Editor-in-Chief of Southern Living.
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My first guest would be the old fashioned Gardenias. they are very fragrant and blooming great this year
Break them off at the base of the flower stem after the color fades on the blooms.
I would prune it as soon as possible. But if you plan to take it down more than a third, I suggest you do it over several years. If you just want to take a couple of feet off of it and reshape it, I think it is ok to do that now. Fertilize following severe pruning to encourage new growth.
Sulfur certainly works, but a little goes a long way. If you only need a slight adjustment, use a ferilier that only puts nitrogen into the soil around the plants. Over time this will very, very slowly help. If you want to use sulfur, I suggest you buy the product that turns hyrangeas blue, and apply according to their directions.
Good to know and thanks for offering it
I am afraid that I do not have a magic cure. Aeration in spring helps, as well as an early application of nitrogen to the lawn can also help, but do not apply before green-up. Nothing beats having a healthy, active, growing lawn with the controls you have in place.
My friend, the late Weesie Smith’s started blooming in early summer, and if we pinched off the old spent flowers, they bloomed all summer.
I really like them planted in a mass in part shade in the garden. While they will do okay in a container, they have a root structure that is going to fill the pot quickly, so it will take a lot of watering this summer. Either planted in the garden or growing in a large container is okay.
see answer below
It depends on how high you want the screen. One of my favorite 20 plus foot screens is Nellie R. Stevens holly. They grow very well in the Birmingham metro area. For screens larger than 30 feet, you will need a small evergreen tree. Those not sensitive to drought are not common in our area, so you might want to try cryptomeria, but they will require water.
Many nurseries are limited by space and what is available from their wholesalers. Gardenias are not as popular as they use to be in the past. Check this spring at larger garden centers like Hanna’s, and they may have several types.
Each time after they finish blooming, so that could be up to 3 times a year depending on the selection.
Since they bloom on the new wood each year, prune before they leaf out.
First, you are not alone in losing cypress. One of the things that needs to be decided is how fast you want a six foot hedge. I really like dwarf Burford holly, and mine came through the drought with limited watering. If you put out a good 3 gallon plant, five feet on center, expect 5-7 years to achieve what you described. Quicker growing shrubs include Mary Neil holly, ‘Bright ‘n’ Tight’ cherry laurel (short lived 10-15 years), Japanese boxwood, and Fortune’s osmanthus. But all of these will have to be kept at six feet once they achieve that height.