Time to Prune
Late winter is a good time for pruning some trees and shrubs. Plants are dormant but the coldest part of winter has passed, lowering the chance of cold damage near pruning cuts.
Pruning deciduous plants in the winter promotes fast regrowth in the spring. It’s also easier to see the shape of deciduous plants in the winter, since their foliage is gone.
Here are some tips:
• Prune on a mild, dry day.
• Remove any dead and diseased branches. Then remove the overgrown and smaller branches to increase light and air at the crown of the tree.
• Cut branches at the node, the point at which one branch or twig attaches to another.
• When pruning apple trees and other fruit trees, cut water sprouts right to their bases. These vigorous, upright shoots soak up the plant’s energy and bear few or no flowers or fruit. Remove weak twigs.
• Prune butterfly bush severely. These plants bloom only on new shoots. Lop the whole plant to within a few inches of the ground.
Click here for more Pruning Pointers.
Consult our Winter Pruning Guide for a list of popular plants.
Unless you’re in a warm weather zone, you’re probably getting antsy for spring! If you love forsythia, crab apple, or other flowering trees, try forcing branches indoors.
Cut the branches, put them in warm water, and keep in a cool, shady spot indoors. See our tips and a list of spring-blooming plants.
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A sparrow enters the tree
A snow-lump thrice his own slight size
Descends on him
And showers his head and eyes.
–Thomas Hardy (1840–1928)
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