Category: Tropical Style

Honeysuckle Truth

Two of the most recognizable aspects of warmer months will be the brightly coloured blossoms and aromatic scent of honeysuckle in the atmosphere. Although invasive species can be thought of a garden nuisance, honeysuckle is often employed as an addition to a cover for fences and walls. As either a vine or a tree, honeysuckle is a robust, colorful addition to any yard or garden.


Honeysuckle is the general, common name for about 200 species of deciduous, semi-evergreen flowering vines and shrubs. Even though honeysuckle often grows throughout Europe, Asia and various parts of the Americas, there are an estimated 100 species located in China alone. In addition to creating sweet-smelling, trumpet-shaped blossoms which range in color from white to yellow to bright orange, pink and red, honeysuckle plants also produce black, red or blue berries. Even though the nectar in the base of honeysuckle flowers can be absorbed, the berries are toxic and should not be eaten.


Sometimes referred to as woodbine and goat’s leaf, fragrant honeysuckle’s numerous species are proven to attract bees, birds and other wildlife. Two of the most widely recognized species of honeysuckle include Lonicera periclymenum, better called common honeysuckle, and Lonicera japonica, known as Japanese Honeysuckle. Common honeysuckle, typically found in Europe, can be known to climb up to 32 feet high, has white and yellow colored blooms and bananas red berries. Japanese Honeysuckle produces a vanilla scent and could possibly grow to over 80 feet. It also possesses double-tongued white flowers which turn yellow as they mature. Japanese Honeysuckle is also referred to as an invasive species and may be classified as a weed.

Maintenance & Care

Honeysuckle vines and shrubs often grow wild, but can be trained to develop a trellis or within a garden as groundcover. Even though honeysuckle is a hardy, low maintenance plant, it thrives in moist dirt. In summer months, watering and mulching is vital to preserving the roots and also discouraging aphids from attacking the plant. Many honeysuckle species grow well in full sunlight, but can also tolerate partial shade. While some varieties need some polishing during the winter season, most do not have to be pruned.

Fun Facts

In addition to being used as a cut flower in bouquets, baskets and potpourri, honeysuckle has long been related to superstition. Throughout the Victorian age in Great Britain, honeysuckle flowers were often grown in gardens and around the doorways of homes to ward off witches and evil spirits. It was also considered to cause fine dreams and enhance mood when put under a pillow. Now, honeysuckle is often utilised in herbal and aromatherapy pillows. Honeysuckle, sometimes referred to as woodbine, has also been often mentioned in classic British literature. The two William Shakespeare and Geoffrey Chaucer refer to this honeysuckle plant at “Twelfth Night,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “The Canterbury Tales.”

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Planting Sites for Apricot Trees

Apricot trees (Prunus armeniaca) create juicy sweet fruit using fuzzy skins at U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 9. Apricot trees are temperate fruit trees, which need chilling time to make fruit. In mild winter areas without long cold weather, look for apricot varieties with low chill requirements. The fruit ripens from late spring and early summer. The ideal time to plant apricot trees is while they’re inactive, either in the winter or early spring. Choosing the right place provides the fruit tree an increased likelihood of survival.


Conventional apricot trees reach up to 30 feet tall, but they might be held at 15 feet tall with pruning. Dwarf-sized apricot trees reach 6 to 19 feet tall. The trees need space so they’re not overcrowded. This improves the sunlight the trees get and increases the air circulation, which dries the leaves fast. Conventional apricot trees need at least an area with a diameter of 25 square feet, and dwarf trees need half that.


Strong winds damage apricot tree leaves and branches. Winds can strip blossoms and fruit from the branches. Search for a site protected from harsh winds. In neighborhoods, check for buildings which may block the end. If the site is located in a windy place, plant dense shrubs and trees to act as a windbreak.


Apricot trees prefer slightly acidic fertile soil. Examine the dirt having a commercially available test kit before amending the soil using well-rotted manure and compost. The soil needs to keep moisture without being soggy because the trees aren’t drought-tolerant. Don’t plant in soil with high amounts of mud or clay. Appropriate sites for apricot trees include rich soil to the depth of 4 to 6 feet. Loosen up the dirt with a scoop in the region before planting. In case hardpan soil exists under the site, break up the dirt so that the roots have room to develop.


Do not choose a low-lying place where frost settles in the spring. These areas also have a tendency to fill up with water during rainstorms and have drainage problems. Standing water above the root zone will cause root rot. Plant the apricot trees onto a mound or in a raised bed at least 1 foot high.

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The way to Prune a Red Sunset Tree

“Red Sunset” maple trees (Acer rubrum “Red Sunset”) and (Acer rubrum “Franksred”) appear perfect when pruned using a central leader, together with a single straight main division along with a balanced number of lateral branches on each side Grown in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 through 9, “Red Sunset” is named because of its dense canopy which includes bright red buds in spring along with also a splendid display of orange and red leaves in fall. “Red Sunset” trees grow 40 to 50 feet tall, which means you may have to prune the tree to maintain a smaller size if you have a limited growing space.

Prune “Red Sunset” maple trees in late winter before buds break or in early summer after the tree has flowered and is in full leaf exhibit.

Select one central leader and eliminate any other vertical main branches back to the point of origin on the trunk. Pick the straightest and most powerful division in the group of vertical branches.

Select strong branches for the scaffold branches, the main branches which stem from the central leader. Scaffold branches should have broad crotches, between 60- and also 90-degree angles together with the central leader, and be evenly positioned across the central leader. Make sure branches are available to sunlight, so that no upper branches shade from the lower branches.

Eliminate any scaffold branches you don’t wish to leave on the tree. Make a clean 45- to 60-degree angle cut at the point of origin on the trunk, cutting just beyond the branch collar, the ring of tissue where the branch meets the trunk, so the tree isn’t open to decay or disease.

Cut up to one-third of the entire branch length from each scaffold division, if desired. Make a downward-facing 45-degree angle cut just above a healthy bud to force branching just beneath the cut. This is known as a heading cut, and never needed, helps to encourage denser growth closer to the trunk. Also make this sort of cut to fill in any open spaces left as a consequence of removing injured branches. Don’t make these cuts on branches which are more than 1 year-old.

Stand back from the “Red Sunset” maple so that you can see the design of all branches; the tree canopy should be pyramidal to elliptical in shape, with the lower branches protruding further than the upper branches to permit for even sunlight supply to all branches. Look for regions of imbalance and branches which do not give rise to the powerful structure and tree form.

Cut dead, diseased or broken branches back to your nearest healthy bud or intersecting division. In addition to your yearly pruning instinct, eliminate these any time throughout the year as they occur.

Eliminate any lateral branches growing from the scaffold branches which have weak crotches with angles less than 45 levels, cutting them back to the point of origin with an intersecting division.

Cut out any rubbing branches, eliminating the division with a weaker crotch or that grows inward in favor of a division with a large crotch and outward growth direction.

Cut out any branches that grow inward toward the trunk in order to keep the canopy open to sunlight and air flow.

Eliminate any water suckers as they develop at the base of the tree or in branch crotches. These tiny branches tend to grow straight up and never become strong, therefore it is best to eliminate them so the tree doesn’t waste its energy growing them.

Thin out a few extra branches as needed if the canopy becomes too dense to start up all the branches to even sunlight supply and air flow. Choose the lowest branches or the ones that make the tree look unbalanced and cut those branches back to the point of origin on the scaffold branches.

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The way to look for Indian Hawthorn Seeds

Don’t confuse the Indian hawthorn (Raphiolepis indica) with the thorned and hardy native hawthorn tree. Indian hawthorns are low-growing, low-maintenance flowering shrubs indigenous to China, offering dense evergreen mounds of leaf around 6 feet high. The bush explodes with fragrant white or pink blossoms in springtime, from that develop the curved fruit or pomes, similar to rose hips. Generally tolerant of soil and shade, Indian hawthorns are somewhat drought resistant and largely maintenance free once launched. This tree thrives in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 through 11.

Explain Indian hawthorn plants when they begin to blossom in mid-April. Start looking for fragrant flower clusters resembling these crabapples, either white or pink. The plant’s leaves are rounded, leathery and dark green with serrated edges. Even though the Indian hawthorn is evergreen, some of the old leaves turn vibrant colours and drop in autumn.

Assess the Indian hawthorn bush above the summer. As the blooms fade, berries begin to grow. They are curved but slightly flattened, about 1/2-inch in diameter. They are ripe when they turn bluish-black in late summer or early fall and are soft to the touch.

Gather the berries in autumn before all are absorbed by hungry birds. Split open a berry. Inside are two little seeds that can be used to grow new Indian hawthorn bushes. Wash the seeds prior to planting.

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Size of a Mature Persimmon Tree

Two types of persimmon trees are commonly developed in the western United States, Japanese or Oriental persimmon (Diospyros kaki) and American persimmon (Diospyros virginiana). The oriental species produces larger fruit, but the American species is much larger and more cold tolerant. The size of mature persimmon trees is based on the species and cultivars, but a lot of them grow to heights of up to 30 feet or taller.

American Persimmon

American persimmon trees may grow up to 60 feet tall with a 25 to 30 foot spread. Often utilized in landscapes as a decorative tree, they do create edible fruit. The flowers are white to yellowish and generally look in march. This deciduous persimmon tree grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 though 9, producing oval glossy-green, 6-inch leaves which turn yellow or pink in autumn. The fruit is round, 1 1/2 to 2 inches wide and yellow. Trees need both male and female trees for pollination and to set fruit.

Oriental Persimmon

Oriental persimmon attains heights of 25 to 30 feet tall with about a 25 foot spread. This assortment of persimmon grows in USDA plant hardiness zones 7 though 10, producing oval, dark green leaves which turn, red, yellow and orange in autumn. In winter bright-red 3- to 4-inch fruits appear and remain on the tree through winter if not picked. Trees do set fruit without pollination, but pollinated trees create a sweeter, tastier and more abundant crop.

Astringent and Non-Astringent Fruit

Depending on number, persimmon trees may create astringent or non-astringent fruit. Both American and Oriental persimmon trees create astringent or bitter fruit, which are just sweet and delicious when allowed to fully ripen. Fully ripe persimmons are soft with a mushy consistency. Non-astringent persimmons are crunchy and firm when ripe and frequently eaten like an apple sliced into salads. The cultivar “Fuyu” produces smooth, non-astringent orange-red persimmons.

Attention of Persimmon Trees

Oriental and American persimmons trees are simple to grow and tolerate a number of soils when grown in areas with good drainage. Persimmon trees prefer full sunlight, but do tolerate partial shade. They withstand some drought, but intense drought may cause premature fruit drop. The persimmon fruit is larger and much better quality once the tree is given routine water; many trees require about 36 to 48 inches of water annually. Trees require small fertilization, as too much nitrogen causes fruit fall. You can apply balanced 10-10-10 fertilizer under the tree canopy in late winter or early spring, using one pound of fertilizer per each inch of trunk diameter at ground level. The persimmon tree requires about 7 to 8 years to mature to full size and bear fruit.

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Red Thread-Resistant Grasses

Red thread is a fungal disease which kills turf grass. This fungus covers a huge area without killing the grass since it spreads, but after 2- to 8-inch-wide regions of dead grass appear. Look for a reddish-pink jelly-like webbing, which glues the grass blades together. In areas prone to crimson thread illness, plant crimson thread-resistant grass varieties.

Susceptible Varieties

Some turf grasses are prone to red thread strikes. These grasses include cultivars of bentgrass, bluegrass, fescue, ryegrass and Bermuda grass. Infestations occur more often along coastal areas in which the temperatures are light, between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Long periods of dampness also raise red thread development.


Perennial ryegrass (Lolium spp.) Is a tough native North American grass commonly planted for agricultural functions like livestock grazing. This vigorous grass produces green stalks, narrow leaves and summer flowers in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 1 through 12. In zones with warm summer weather, this grass variety does not survive the heat and is employed as a winter annual. Even though ryegrass is vulnerable to red thread fungus, enhanced perennial varieties demonstrate strong immunity to the respiratory disorder. According to the University of Illinois Extension, the following varieties comprise “Birdie II,” “Citation II,” “Linn,” “Pennant,” “Pippin,” “Premier” and “Tara.”

Fine-Leaf Fescue

Fine-leaf fescue (Festuca spp.) Grows best as a cool-season continued grass. Suited for USDA zones 1 through 9, this grass seems like a clumping or creeping narrow-blade grass forming a dense lawn. Many fescue grasses perish from crimson thread infections, but a few new varieties are immune to this disease. Resistant or reasonably resistant fine-leaf fescue grasses comprise “Atlanta,” “Aurora,” “Bighorn,” “Biljart,” “Dawson,” “Epsom,” “Flyer,” “Golfrood,” “Reliant,” “Scaldis,” “Shadow,” “Spartan,” “Valda,” “Weekend” and “Wintergreen.”

Kentucky Bluegrass

Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis) is a cool season grass that grows best in fall, winter and spring in USDA zones 1 through 8. The green grass blades produce a dense turf. Recently developed Kentucky bluegrass cultivars show good levels of immunity to crimson thread. The University of Illinois Extension reports which “Adelphi,” “Admiral,” “Aspen,” “Banff,” “Barblue,” “Bonnieblue,” “Bono,” “Bristol,” “Classic,” “Dormie,” “Eclipse,” “Haga,” “Harmony,” “Holiday,” “Midnight,” “Nassau,” “Trenton” and “Welcome” are immune to red thread.

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What is the Fastest Growing Fruit Tree?

Few things are as annoying to a home gardener as the let down when you realize that the tree you just planted won’t bear fruit tomorrow, or even the next day, or even the day after that. Some patience is required when growing a home orchard. However, fast-growing fruit trees which add at least 2 feet of growth in 1 season can be found at your neighborhood nursery. They nevertheless won’t offer instant gratification, but they will produce fruit within a relatively brief time period.


A few apple trees grow two or more feet a season, like the “Golden Delicious,” (Malus x domestica “Golden Delicious”), “Red Delicious,” (Malus x domestica “Red Delicious”) and Ancient Harvest (Malus x domestica “Early Harvest”). The “Red Delicious” and “Golden Delicious” cultivars, which develop in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 8, bloom mid-season, producing white or pink blossoms, followed by sweet, crisp fruit in autumn. As its name suggests, the “Ancient Harvest,” which is suited for growing in USDA zone 3 through 8, ripens earlier than other kinds, but creates comparable flowers and fruit.


Fast-growing pear trees incorporate the Oriental pear (Pyrus communis), which thrives in USDA zones 5 to 8, along with also the Kieffer pear (Pyrus communis x P. pyrifolia), located in USDA zones 4 to 9. They grow up to 20 feet high and produce profuse white blossoms before fruiting. The large hot yellow fruit of the Oriental pear is ready for harvesting in the summer season. Kieffer pears, also yellowish but crisp, ripen in the early autumn.


Meanwhile, the “Belle of Georgia” (Prunus persica “Belle of Georgia”), “Elberta” (Prunus persica “Elberta”), “Golden Jubilee” (Prunus persica “Golden Jubilee”) and also “Hale-Haven” (Prunus persica “Hale-Haven”) striped trees develop at least 2 feet a season. All these are freestone varieties that flourish in USDA zones 5 through 8, but the “Elberta” will also rise in zone 9. Meanwhile, the “Belle of Georgia,” which flowers in showy red flowers, creates white-fleshed fruit, while the other three produce fruit with yellow flesh in the summer months.


Two varieties of apricot trees grow rapidly, the “Moorpark” (Prunus armeniaca “Moorpark”), which thrives in USDA zones 4 to 8, along with also the “Ancient Golden (Prunus armeniaca “Ancient Golden”), adapt to growing in USDA zones 5 to 8. Both produce showy white or pink blossoms followed by big, flavorful fruit. The yellow-skinned fruit of the “Moorpark” turns a deep orange or red when ripe, while the fruit of the “Ancient Golden” is orange inside and orange or golden outside when ready to select in the summertime.

Other Fruit Trees

Other fast-growing fruit trees comprise the black cherry (Prunus serotina), which grows up to 3 feet a season in USDA zones 3 to 9, reaching 50 feet in height. It produces showy white blossoms in the spring along with cherries in early summer. The “Hass” (Persea americana “Hass”) along with also the “Fuerte” (Persea americana “Fuerte”), each of which develop best in USDA zones 9 and 10, are types of avocados that grow 3 feet a season. The “Hass” creates fruit all year except in the winter, while the “Fuerte” creates every season but the autumn. Citrus, like the “Meyer” lemon tree (Citrus limon “Meyer”), located in USDA zones 8 to 11, may grow up to 4 feet a season when young, depending on variables which include climate, rootstock and spacing.

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English vs. French Lavender

The generic title “lavender” refers to many different aromatic perennial shrubs from the genus Lavendula. Lavender is grown primarily for its fragrant oil, which will be valued for perfumery and medicinal purposes. The most commonly cultivated species is English lavender (Lavendula angustifolia), while French lavender (Lavendula dentata) is one of numerous less-common species.


Probably the most basic difference between English lavender and French lavender is their ability to withstand cold temperatures. English lavender, which is thought to be the most cold-hardy species, which can successfully over-winter in many areas of the USA. French lavender, which is indigenous to Spain, is often grown as an annual because it’s susceptible to dying in colder climates.


English lavender produces a high-quality oil that’s most closely associated with the true “lavender” odor. A hybrid species called Lavandin is much more productive than English lavender, but often the oil from Lavandin varieties have to be combined using English lavender oil to attain a satisfactory aroma. The odor of French lavender is fine and includes a scent like that of rosemary.


English lavender grows from 1 to 3 feet tall. The leaves are narrow with smooth borders, and also the flowers take on several different hues of purple, white and blue. French lavender is similar to English cedar in dimension, but the leaves are differentiated by tooth whitening teeth along the borders — the species name dentata comes from the Latin word for “having teeth” The flowers of French lavender are usually purple or violet.

Length of Bloom

French lavender has the desired capability to bloom for a very long section of the growing season, with flowers appearing in early spring and persisting through the warmer months. English lavender, on the other hand, flowers from late spring to midsummer, and the blooming period may be as brief as mid-June to early July. As with a number of other flowering plants, the two types of lavender will bloom more always if flowers are eliminated as they begin to fade.

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The Best Ground Cover for Full Sun & Clay Soil

Clay soil presents a problem for gardeners since it is heavy, poorly draining rather than easily amended. When wet, it is sticky and pliable; sturdy clay soil develops breaks and becomes hard. On the plus side, clay holds moisture and nutrients. Many plants won’t grow in clay soil, but quite a few species, like U.S. indigenous plants, thrive in clay that’s in a full-sun site. The best ground covers for such an area are those that provide visual interest for multiple seasons and don’t need frequent maintenance.


Clay soil exposed to winter flood presents particular challenges, and several ground-cover plants have the ability to withstand these problems. 1 candidate is brown-headed creeping rush (Juncus phaeocephalus phaeocephalus), a low-growing indigenous plant suitable for coastal or low-lying areas. The plant is all about 1/2 to 1 inch tall and is perennial in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 7 through 10. Yet another offender is California goldenrod (Solidago californica), which grows best in areas that are wet in winter but dry in summer. It reaches 15 to 36 inches tall, bears bright-yellow blossoms in summer and is hardy in USDA zones 6 through 10.


Some ground-cover plants that tolerate clay soil also take dry conditions and are suitable for low-water areas. Among these plants that offers evergreen shade is the shrubby “Pigeon Point” cultivar of dwarf coyote brush (Baccharis pilularis pilularis “Pigeon Point”), that grows 12 inches tall and up to 10 feet wide. Once established, it is very drought-tolerant. It is hardy in USDA zones 7 through 10. Yet another low-growing, evergreen shrub that tolerates clay dirt and dry conditions is “Carmel Sur” manzanita (Arctostaphylos edmundsii “Carmel Sur”), that bears urn-shaped, pink blossoms in spring. Hugging the ground at 4 inches tall, this plant may spread 18 feet broad. Suitable for coastal regions, “Carmel Sur” is perennial in USDA zones 8 through 10.

Showy Flowers

Enjoy bright flowers in addition to ground coverage from full-sun, clay-tolerant plants such as threadleaf coreopsis (Coreopsis verticillata) and daylily (Hemerocallis spp.) . Threadleaf coreopsis is actually the best coreopsis for clay soil, according to the August 2010 “Garden Beet” newsletter by the Jackson County, Oregon, Master Gardener Association. Profuse, yellow, daisylike flowers cover the 18- to 30-inch-tall plant from early to late summer. It is hardy in USDA zones 3 through 9. Mass plantings of daylilies make effective ground covers in flowerbeds and on slopes, with the plants’ slender leaves forming clumps that protect the dirt. Daylily flowers look on stalks held over the leaves and therefore are in a wide range of colors, from yellow, red and orange to cream and purple, and some blooms have multiple colours. Daylily grows 1 to 3 feet tall and 1 to 2 feet broad; it is hardy in USDA zones 3 through 10.

Gray Foliage

Sometimes you might want ground covers with leaf colors other than green to contrast with background plantings or as foils for intense colors in clay, full-sun gardens. 1 option is the soft-textured, silvery gray leaf of “Canyon Gray” sagebrush (Artemisia californica “Canyon Gray”), that spills over planter edges and rock garden terraces. That aromatic ground cover is hardy in USDA zones 7 through 9. A ground cover with gray-green leaf is California fuchsia (Epilobium canum subspecies latifolia), which also has brilliant orange-red, tubular blooms in summer and autumn. It grows 4 to 20 inches tall, is perennial in USDA zones 8 through 10 and tolerates full sun to partial shade and clay to sandy soil.

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The Best Time to Dig a Trumpet Vine

If you’re growing a trumpet vine (Campsis radicans), you might already know that it’s a fast-growing plant that thrives easily to an assistance using aerial roots on its own stems. Its vines may be 40 feet tall, with showy clusters of yellow or red flowers in summer. The ideal time to transplant an present vine depends a bit on the climate in which you live, but you can dig up the plant at any time to control its growth or remove it completely.

Transplanting in Spring

The trumpet vine grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 6 through 10. It drops its leaves and becomes dormant in late autumn in cold-winter places, but might continue growing year where winters are frost-free. If you’d like to transplant your trumpet vine along with your area has cold winters, early spring is the ideal time for this, just prior to the plant sets its fresh flush of growth. The trumpet vine attaches tightly to constructions, so cut the vines back by up to 50 percent just before you transplant, gently pulling them free from their support as you work. Clean your blades by wiping them with rubbing alcohol between cuts, to prevent spread of plant infection, and dig the plant when soil is moist, keeping as much dirt on the root ball as you can.

Other Times

If you live where winters are mild and frost-free, you could also transplant a trumpet vine in autumn or early winter, because the origins continue growing even if top growth slows during the cool months. Wherever you live, avoid moving the plant during the warm summer months, because heat may raise the transplant shock that the plant encounters after it’s transplanted. If digging a trumpet vine in summer is the sole option, keep it well-watered for many weeks after the move, aiming for 1 or 2 inches of water every week, including rain. Supply the plant using some shade in its new spot for a few weeks, to prevent leaf scorch, and add a 3-inch layer of mulch to help conserve soil moisture and keep down weeds.

Digging for Control

A trumpet vine can be a rampant grower, especially in areas where it rises year-round. It also spreads by suckers that develop out of the origins or by spontaneous layering, rooting wherever vines touch the ground. If you would like to dig a trumpet vine to eliminate it completely from the lawn, check all of the vines for rooted places and eliminate those origins together with the most important root ball. Trumpet vines also spread by putting out underground runnersthat can sprout by creating shoots some distance from the main plant. Assess for them in all directions around your plant, then removing them with the neighboring roots. After you dig the plant up, continue monitoring the area for a few seasons, searching for shoots or suckers that grow from remaining roots; eliminate these as they appear.

Managing the Vines

Although the trumpet vine is a plant that is attractive, it may be an aggressive grower that may need regular trimming or pruning to keep it under control. You can trim it at any given time of year, cutting vines back by up to 95 percent to control their growth. However, this sort of drastic reconstruction can interfere with flowering, as the vine flowers on new side shoots that appear each spring from old, principal stems. To maintain next summer’s blossoms, leave several well-spaced vines unpruned, cutting others back; repeat this every couple of years to control the vine’s dimension.

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