Text by Lesley A. Baker
So it’s February. Is there something I can do to prepare for spring gardening? There certainly is.
Late winter is the time to prune your shrubs, trees, grapevines, and summer flowers. You can do so by using well-sharpened loppers, pruning shears and saws. Be sure you disinfect them between plants. Trim just above buds or shoots that point where you want the new growth to point. Cut just outside the slight swelling at the trunk. Now is the time to manipulate the new growth in your plants for spring.
Pruning is vital to trees and shrubs. So why not prune off all dead, diseased or weak branches and any that cross, grow together or grow toward the centre. You can also trim to open up the centre and remove any competing leaders. Avoid chopping off the top of a tree or shrub to shorten it and never cut out more than one quarter of the plant.
Skip early blooming flowers such as forsythia, lilac and magnolia because you might just cut off flowering buds. Be sure to steer clear of birch, butternut, maple and walnut trees that will bleed sap if pruned now; wait until mid summer to prune those.
The little bit of pruning and trimming you do now can give you a great jump on spring gardening. It will also give the green thumb gardener a little taste of what’s to come.
New Gardening Product
Soil sponge: This product is available at most hardware and grocery stores. You can use this at the bottom of your potted plants and it will release moisture on an even basis. This product actually lengthens your watering times up to a week. So if you are starting your inside herb garden or new indoor plants give this one a try!