Alfredo Vincente, owner of AAA Landscaping Design of Claxton, shared a wealth of information with Glennville Garden Club members on pruning and fertilizing at their meeting of Thursday, January 11, 2024, at the Garden Club Center on Caswell Street.
Vincente comes well qualified to give this advice, since he worked for a large nursery for 15 years and his former boss taught horticulture at Ogeechee Tech. Although the bulk of his business is in Statesboro, he lives in Claxton and services several customers in Glennville, including Pat Tatum, who introduced him at the meeting.
His services include new plant and flower bed installations and lawn and shrubbery maintenance.
"We have a lot of azaleas here in the Southeast, and you really don't need to prune them, but if you do, prune in late fall," he said, referring to the Indigos and the semi-dwarf variety, called chromes. For fertilizer, he suggested 10-10-10 and early in the fall, but 10-8-8 also could be used as another option.
Encore Azaleas bloom four times a year, and they don't grow as big as the other varieties. Organic fertilizer is recommended for these.
He explained the two types of azaleas, the Qurrum, that bloom in late fall, and Indica, with a bigger leaf, that bloom winter to spring.
"Camellias don't grow much in the summer because of the heat, but they begin to grow in the fall as the temperatures are dropping. You can fertilize these early in the summer, with 10-8-8 or 10-10-10," he said.
One variety, he explained, the Sasanqua, has small leaves and can tolerate the full sun, while the Japonica requires shade and has much bigger leaves. Camellias do not need much water. Pink Perfection is one of my favorites, which has petals that are almost asymmetrical, and the white version is beautiful," he added.
"I don't recommend pruning crepe myrtles unless they block a light, camera, or are growing up to the house. I would let them grow naturally, but if you are going to prune them, I suggest the end of January or February at the latest," he said, commenting that they will start "bleeding" if they get a frost and often split and damage the plant.
"If you wait until the crepe myrtle is completely dormant before pruning, they won't split," he said.
Vincente commented on roses as well, including both the drift and knock-out varieties. They can be pruned three times a year, in the spring, summer, and fall, and Vincente recommended cutting them only about one-half inch above the previous cut.
Vincente suggested waiting until late March before fertilizing roses. He recommended using 10-10-10 balance fertilizer on roses that have been planted for three years or longer. For younger roses, he suggested using an organic fertilizer so as not to damage the plant.
For hydrangeas, he suggested waiting until spring to prune. He commented on the Endless Summer variety that grow to one-half to three-feet tall and are low maintenance. When asked about the plants with cone-shaped white blooms (that can be seen at Rotary Corp. and in front of Glennville Bank), he said these are Panicle Hydrangeas and that calcium sulphate can be applied to the ground around these for fertilizer.
"Perennials grow fast and bloom fast, so 20-5-10 can be used on them for fertilizer," Vincente commented.
In closing, he answered questions from the various Garden Club members, who expressed their appreciation for his vast knowledge and advice.