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UM landscape guru to speak on pruning at free lecture

While winter is still in full swing, February is a good time to start pruning blooming shrubs and trees to get them ready for the coming spring.

The Lafayette County Master Gardener Association is holding a free lecture demonstrating pruning techniques for shrubs and trees at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Lafayette County and Oxford Public Library. The event is free and open to the public.

Guest speaker will be Jeff McManus, director of landscape services for the University of Mississippi.

Pruning is an essential skill for successful gardeners, but it is not an easy one to master. A gardener must know when to prune, how to prune, how much to prune. This workshop will offer insight into the art and science of pruning to help attendees make their gardens neat and orderly and keep them that way.

McManus said all gardeners, beginners to experts will learn useful information at the lecture.

“It’s for anyone who loves doing their own yard,” he said.

McManus said many gardeners are out in their yards already doing prep work to have a great spring and summer growing season.

“I want to help give people the information needed to prune crepe myrtles and azaleas so they have plenty of flowers to show off,” he said.

McManus said the biggest mistake he observes on local landscapes is the practice of pruning crepe myrtles all the way back.

“It’s essentially crepe myrtle murder,” he said. “I’m not sure how that started to be something people to do but it’s not necessary.”

Peggie Roder, co-chair of the education committee for the Lafayette County Master Gardener Association says the lecture is a great opportunity for members of the Oxford and Lafayette communities to learn from one of the most outstanding horticultural experts in the southeast.

“Jeff’s expertise is on display daily on the campus of the University of Mississippi which has won several national awards for the most beautiful campus,” Roder said. “A noted speaker as well as a landscaper, Jeff is also an author.  His book on pruning, the subject of this workshop, has been well received.”

Attendees will have the opportunity to buy a copy and get it signed at the conclusion of the program.

McManus has a bachelor’s degree in landscape and ornamental horticulture from Auburn University. He is also an International Society of Arboriculture Certified Arborist. He is a member of many professional organizations and served in leadership positions in various non-profit organizations.