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Departments » UW Extension » Urban Horticulture & Natural Resources
General Information

Welcome to Brown County UW-Extension's

Urban Horticulture
Natural Resources Pro


Article of the Week
(Originally published in the Green Bay Press-Gazette on February 20, 2017)

Pruning Trees
Take advantage of this week’s above freezing temperature to schedule your tree pruning. Pruning helps maintain the size of the tree, allows better light penetration into the crown, minimizes disease occurrence, promotes better bloom, increases the safety by removing dead and broken branches, and enhances the overall appearance of your trees.

What branches should I prune on young trees? Prune any crossing branches, water sprouts, root suckers, and double leaders. Remove some of the lower branches to raise the crown. When pruning a limb, make a clean, sharp cut just outside the branch collar (trunk tissue that surrounds the branch base at the point of attachment). Don’t leave a stub. Prune scaffold branches that are too closely spaced on the trunk. Scaffold branches are the large branches that form the main structure of the tree crown. Scaffold branches should be spaced equally to about 12-18 inches apart and should be evenly distributed around the trunk and should have wide crotch angles. As a general rule of thumb, don’t remove more than 1/3 of the total crown of a tree at one time.

Can I prune my “bleeding” trees now? Yes, you can. Pruning deciduous trees like maples, birches, black walnut, beech, hornbeam, willow, and yellowwood when the temperature is above freezing produces excess sap flow from the newly cut ends. But don’t get alarmed when you see those cut ends bleed. Although they are unsightly to look at, they don’t cause any harm to the tree’s health.

Do newly planted trees require pruning? Unless the branch is dead, diseased, or damaged, newly planted trees should not be pruned. Pruning newly planted trees can lead to reduction of the foliage which produces the nutrients necessary for new root development and establishment. You can start pruning the tree once it gets established (about two to five years).

How should I prune larger limbs? Larger branches should be pruned carefully to avoid tearing of the bark, for better wound closure and for personal safety. Use the three-point cut method when pruning larger limbs. In this technique, the first cut should be made 12-18 inches from the branch’s point of attachment and should be an undercut that reaches half way through the branch. This relieves the weight of the branch. The second cut should be made just outside the first cut and should be pruned all the way down, severing the major portion of the branch completely.The third cut should be made just above the branch collar that removes the remaining branch stub.Do not apply any pruning paint at the cut end of the branches.Always disinfect your pruning tools with 70% rubbing alcohol solution before pruning.

Do the cut ends need to be coated with tree paint or wound dressing? No. Tree paint or wound dressing delays the closure of the tree’s wound and can also lead to decay of the tissue. These compounds are recommended only if pruning oak trees during the growing season.

For horticulture-related questions and advice, contact Brown County UW-Extension’s Horticulture Help Desk at 920-391-4615 or


2017 All-America Selection Vegetable Winners
After extensive plant field trials across the country, All-America Selections (AAS) announces the best performing vegetable winners for this year. These winners are selected based on their trial garden performance in North America for fruit quality, yield, pest and disease resistance, and overall growth. You can find the seed sources of these
award winning varieties at Click here to learn more about this topic.

Winter Houseplant Care
Houseplants add life and beauty to our home and office environments. Their vivid colors, textures, and fragrances serve as a natural stress reliever, filter indoor air pollutants, and gratify the winter gardening urge.
Many houseplants are from tropical regions where they like abundant sunshine, warm and humid conditions. With shortened day length and cooler temperatures in fall and winter, many tropical houseplants shed their leaves and lose their vibrant color. But with a few indoor modifications, you can help the tropical plants to thrive through the winter season. CLICK here to learn more about this topic.
Prevent Vole Damage in the Landscape
Freezing nights and shortening daylight in the fall has tranquilized most of our landscape except the insatiable meadow mouse that remains active throughout the year. Meadow mice, also called voles, are a ground dwelling rodent with a chunky grayish brown appearance, tiny ears, and short tail. Commencing from late fall to early spring, voles cause multiple damage in the landscape. Squirrely runways and endless tunnels in lawns, shaved tree bark and roots of young trees, and the mysterious disappearance of spring flowering bulbs and tubers are classic blueprints of vole damage. Under snow cover, voles can venture safely to any part of the landscape, and quite often homeowners do not notice the damage until the snow melts. CLICK here to learn more about this topic.

Horticulture Help Desk Services
We offer free consultations on lawn care advice, insect and disease diagnosis, and plant and insect identification. We also address tree and shrub problems as well as help you select the plants that are best suited to your needs and site. Soil tests and advanced diagnosis services are available for a fee.

Bring your live or digital specimen to the Horticulture Help Desk:

1150 Bellevue Street, Green Bay, WI 54302
Hort Help Desk Phone: 920-391-4615

The UW-Extension Office is open Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 4:30 PM.
If a horticulture staff member is not available when you call or visit, messages and samples can be left with UW-Extension reception, and a staff member will contact you.

We are here to serve you by connecting the University system, Master Gardener volunteers, and you - Northeast Wisconsin residents - to help things grow.

Contact:  Vijai Pandian - Horticulture Educator
Phone: 920-391-4611
Fax: 920-391-4617
Click here to email
Mailing Address:  Agriculture & Extension Service Center
1150 Bellevue Street
Green Bay, WI 54302
Hours:  Monday - Friday, 8 AM - 4:30 PM
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