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Planning for a Successful Spring

Winter provides gardeners the chance to reflect, recharge and plan new projects for the coming year. Take this opportunity to add mulch and adjust drip lines while plants are bare. It's much easier to visualize and plan for seasons ahead while our gardens are fairly bare, making winter perfect for pruning! Winter pruning is for dormant plants because they can take a significant amount of pruning without going into shock. Roses, vines and stone fruits (except cherries and apricots) are especially well-suited to dormant pruning.

There are many reasons to prune your plants:

  • Make sure to always consult a LOCAL nursery expert before trimming
  • Removing dead, diseased and damaged branches allows the plant to focus all of its energy on the good wood left behind.
  • Pruning keeps your plants at a manageable size.
  • Pruning opens up the plant, increasing air flow to reduce diseases, removes insect pests and disease-breeding spots, and allows more sun into the canopy. The fruits and flowers that are produced on a pruned plant are healthier, larger and more abundant.
  • How much should be pruned off in the dormant season? Each plant is different, but the benefit of dormant pruning is that dormant pruning is when you get to prune the most. When a plant is “awake” (fully leafed out), it's best to prune a limited amount, or the plant will be at risk for shock.

Plants that are not dormant, like citrus, should not be pruned in winter. Also resist the urge to prune away any freeze-damaged parts of plants; save that for early spring, when you prune non-dormant plants.

Bareroot options are abundant in much of the country right now, including roses, fruit trees and vines. Find what is available in your area and get them in the ground early as possible.

As soon as temps warm up get the irrigation installed on any new plantings so plants get all the water they need to thrive in the growing season.