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PRUNE TREES AND SHRUBS IN LATE WINTER
White Flower Farm Offers Pruning Tips
Late winter is the perfect time to get out your pruning shears. The coldest part of winter has passed and fresh wounds from pruning will not be exposed to extreme temperatures. It's also easier to see the weak branches and structure of your trees and shrubs when leaves are not obscuring the view.
According to Barb Pierson, Nursery Manager at White Flower Farm (www.whiteflowerfarm.com), pruning trees and shrubs contributes to healthy growth. Start out by removing weak or broken branches, and branches that rub together. Cut branches 1/4 inch above a bud that faces outward to promote growth in that direction. Pierson says that pruning at the proper time also prevents disease problems and can rejuvenate older plants. It improves the look and shape of your trees and shrubs as well. Pierson notes that young trees and shrubs are more susceptible to winter damage so it's best to prune older trees and shrubs first.
Not sure what needs pruning and when? White Flower Farm offers the following advice for late winter and early spring:
Apples, flowering crab, mountain ash, hawthorns and shrub cotoneaster -- These trees and shrubs in the rose family have diseases that are spread during the growing season. Fresh cuts from winter pruning will stay dry, unlike in the summer months, when disease can set in or spread from one cut to another.
- Apple and pecan trees should be pruned first, followed by cherry, peach and plum trees.
- Currant, dogwood, honeysuckle, smokebush, sandcherry and sumac -- Shrubs grown for foliage rather than flowers generally should be pruned in early spring before growth begins.
- Shrubs that bloom on new growth, such as butterfly bush and Caryopteris, should be pruned before growth emerges.
Just as important as knowing what to prune, is knowing what not to prune in late winter and early spring. Pierson and the gardeners at White Flower Farm say it's best not to touch forsythia, lilac, viburnum, mock orange, and spirea then because they all flower on old wood. The time to prune them is during the growing season, immediately after flowering. Maples, birch, black walnut, elms and honeylocust should be pruned when leafed out to avoid sap loss or "bleeding." Finally, avoid pruning clematis and roses until the buds on the stems have swollen and harsh frosts have passed.
Barb Pierson, the nursery manager at White Flower Farm, is available for interviews upon request, as are other experts. Please contact: Deborah Broide,
Deborah Broide Publicity,
White Flower Farm is a family-owned nursery located in northwest Connecticut. Since 1950, they have been gathering, evaluating, growing, and selling a wide range of annuals, perennials, shrubs, vines, bulbs, and houseplants representing the very best varieties from around the world. Plants shipped are true to name, free of disease, and in prime condition for growing. While in the area, stop by White Flower Farm with its five acres of display gardens, or visit www.whiteflowerfarm.com, where you will also find helpful gardening information including how-to videos. White Flower Farm -- we make your garden grow.