Pruning can feel like one of the most intimidating parts of caring for a garden—that’s why we released our #PruneBetter series. This series of social media posts covered a wide array of common garden favorites: blueberries, hydrangea, apple trees, and more! If you missed any of the posts this year, they are all still accessible via searching #PruneBetter on Instagram or Facebook.
Our team worked hard behind the scenes to present you with science-backed and accessible content. This series started with LeAnn Locher (Master Gardener Outreach Coordinator), who envisioned utilizing OSU’s social media platforms to not only link to educational content, but to present it directly. Both Instagram and Facebook allow our team to connect directly with Master Gardeners, students, faculty, and the public from one platform. Her idea presented a fun challenge: a series of 10-second videos, each conveying and/or demonstrating a pruning tip.
The #PruneBetter team also consisted of our invaluable background researcher, Mallory Mead (member of the Garden Ecology Lab). She sourced and compiled information—Mallory also helped ensure our posts were timely (AKA posting about a particular plant during its prime pruning window).
Content creation was headed by Nicole Bell (graduate student in the GEL). I (hi, it’s me) wrote captions for the posts, but admittedly—the hardest part was trying to figure out what to put in those 10 second videos! One of my favorite parts was getting to work with my parents: Bernadine Strik (professor emeritus in Horticulture, and mom) for the blueberry content, and Neil Bell (community horticulturist for OSU extension, and dad) for most of the video content. They were the ones who inspired me to pursue a career in horticulture, so it was fulfilling and fun to show them and incorporate them into just a bit of what I’m working on.
What, exactly, does a day of planning and creating #PruneBetter content look like? Step 1: use Mallory’s background research to create an idea for videos (up to nine 10-second segments, for posts) stories (videos up to 30 seconds, and sometimes before and after photos), and the caption. Step 2: select and travel to pruning site. These sites varied from the OSU Lewis Brown Horticulture Farm, the home garden of Nicole’s parents, and gardens generously offered up for example by OSU Master Gardeners. Step 3: shoot content. Let me just say… 10 seconds goes by quickly when you’re talking! Although one of the most challenging parts of creating video content for our social media platforms, it was also a great learning experience. What information do we really need to include? What visual is most valuable to show or demonstrate? Step 4: choose the best of our material, and post! Posts included the slide of videos, the caption with supplemental information, and our stories (one of my favorite parts about creating this series was making the weekly quiz).
Throughout the #PruneBetter campaign, we were surprised and amazed at the amount of engagement and support from the community. We loved seeing your shares, comments, and messages—it means a lot. Gardening can feel like a never-ending sea of tasks, but I think it is made better with community, accessible knowledge, and (at least) knowing you’re not in the work alone! We’re not done yet—keep an eye out for more content in June (hello, apple thinning!) and beyond. As long as there is something to prune, we’ll be waiting to find and share all the ways we can #PruneBetter.
To access the supplemental resources included in the posts this year, see below.
Tree pruning with the pros: https://extension.oregonstate.edu/collection/pruning-pros
Figs (video): https://youtu.be/0jKXn4wByz4
Pacific Power “Small Trees for Small Places” booklet: https://www.pacificpower.net/…/PP_SmallTrees_Booklet.pdf
To access the posts made earlier this year, go to Instagram or Facebook and search the hashtag #PruneBetter.