Extension News

Ask the ISU Experts

Note to media editors: Got gardening questions? Contact the Hortline at (515) 294-3108 (Monday-Friday; 10 a.m. -  noon and 1 - 4:30 p.m.) or send an e-mail to hortline@iastate.edu. For more gardening information visit us at Yard and Garden Online at www.yardandgarden.extension.iastate.edu


We recently moved into a home that has a large red raspberry planting in the backyard.  How should we rejuvenate the planting? 

Red raspberries sucker freely. If not confined, plants will spread rapidly. Red raspberries are most productive when grown in 2-foot-wide hedgerows. If the raspberry planting is several feet wide, plant rows need to be reestablished.  (Wide red raspberry plantings aren’t very productive.  Plus, cultural practices, such as pruning, harvesting and weed control, are extremely difficult.)  Early spring would be an excellent time to rejuvenate the planting. Mark off 2-foot-wide plant rows. The 2-foot-wide plant rows should be spaced 4 to 6 feet apart. After the rows have been marked, dig up and destroy the raspberry plants in the 4 to 6 foot space between rows. 


What are some good sources of flower and vegetable seeds? 

Flower and vegetable seeds can be purchased at local garden centers. They’re also available from mail-order companies. Mail-order sources include Stokes Seeds, Box 548, Buffalo, NY 14240 (www.stokeseeds.com); Park Seed Company, 1 Parkton Avenue, Greenwood, SC 29647 (www.parkseed.com); W. Atlee Burpee, 300 Park Avenue, Warminster, PA 18974 (www.burpee.com); Johnny’s Selected Seeds, 955 Benton Avenue, Winslow, ME 04901 (www.johnnyseeds.com); Harris Seeds, Box 24966, Rochester, NY 14624 (www.harrisseeds.com); and many others. 


Would type of equipment do I need to prune trees and shrubs? 

Proper pruning tools for a home gardener include hand shears, lopping shears and a pruning saw. Hand or pruning shears are generally used for cutting stems (branches) up to .75 inch in diameter. There are two basic types of hand shears. Scissor-type shears have curved blades that overlap (scissor action) when making the cut. Anvil-type shears have a sharp top blade that cuts against a flat surface (anvil). Scissor-type shears are generally preferred as they can make closer cuts and are less likely to crush stems. 


Branches from .75 to 1.5 inches in diameter can be effectively cut with lopping shears. Lopping shears consist of curved blades attached to long handles. The long handles give the gardener greater leverage so cuts can be made through larger branches. Lopping shears are also excellent for pruning difficult to reach places. 


Use a pruning saw on branches larger than 1.5 inches in diameter. Various types of pruning saws are available. A pole saw can be used to prune hard-to-reach branches in trees. 


When purchasing pruning equipment, select high quality tools. High quality pruning tools will be more expensive, but will outlast inferior products. Keep the tools clean and sharp to prolong their life. 



Contacts :

Richard Jauron, Horticulture, (515) 294-1871, rjauron@iastate.edu

Jean McGuire, Extension Communications and Marketing, (515) 294-7033, jmcguire@iastate.edu