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Now's the time to trim your yew

Susan Richards offers this and other advice in this week's Gardening Tips
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Each week, Susan Richards of New North Greenhouses answers your gardening questions. Have questions about your gardening needs? Please email her at

Rita:  Should evergreens be pruned if wet?

As long as your pruning tools are sharp and you don't mind getting a little wet, there is no harm in pruning when a plant is wet.

Just be sure you are pruning evergreens at the appropriate time of year. Cedar, yew and hemlock can all be pruned now.

Pines should have been prunes when their new growth looks like a candle, before the needles open up. That is usually sometime in May.

Spruce are pruned when their new growth has finished expanding outwards. That usually happens by late May or early June.

Both spruce and pine have already set bud for next year so shouldn't be pruned now.

Domenic: My pea plants have yellow leaves at the bottom. The problem spreads up the plant and then along the row. The pea pods stop developing well. This happens every year. What can I do?

The problem you are describing sounds like a disease called Fusarium Wilt. This virus is often spread throughout the pea patch by aphids and leaf hoppers. Remove infected plants and all leaf debris. Don't put them in your compost pile. Once this disease is in your soil there is no cure.

To continue to grow peas, be sure to choose pea seeds for varieties that are resistant to Fusarium wilt and always rotate crops so they are not grown in the same space form year to year. (Cure)

Helena: My tomatoes are being half eaten on the vine. A beautiful red tomato looked good from one side, but when picked, the other side was totally eaten and the tomato was hollowed out. Many of my green tomatoes had chewed areas too. What 's happening?

My neighbour also has this problem and she's seen squirrels and chipmunks snacking in her tomatoes. They tend not to eat the entire fruit but go from one to another doing damage. Pesky little critters!

Try using chicken wire to prevent the critters from getting at the plants. Of course you will have to go around, up and over, as well as bury the wire underground a bit.