Prepare Trees and Shrubs for Spring
It’s been a long winter and your garden may look a little bedraggled after a few months of wind and cold. Take heart: warmer weather is just around the bend. Late winter is a perfect time to prepare trees and shrubs for healthy growth in spring.
Prune summer-blooming shrubs, as well as evergreens and deciduous trees, in late winter while the plants are still dormant but the coldest part of winter has passed. Pruning at this time results in a burst of healthy growth in spring.
Remove dead and damaged branches and even out wayward growth. (Don’t prune spring-blooming shrubs until the flowers fade later in the season).
If winter has been dry, give trees and shrubs a good watering as soon as the temperatures reaches 4.5 C. Watering in late winter or early spring is especially important for young trees and shrubs.
Let a hose trickle at the base of the plant for at least 15 minutes to ensure the moisture reaches the root system. Water at mid-day to the moisture has time to soak in before nightfall, especially if freezing temperatures are expected.
Refresh mulch that has decomposed or blown away. Apply about 5 to 7.5 cm, extending the layer out to the dripline (the point where water drips from the tips of the outer branches). Keep the mulch about 30 cm from the trunk, as mulch can attract animals that gnaw on the bark.
Use slow released formula that will gradually help develop greener, stronger trees and shrubs. Simply pour plant food onto the ground and gently work into the top 2 cm of soil. Phosphorus will stimulate strong root development and potassium will help to improve tolerance to water stress.
Water immediately to ensure the fertilizer is absorbed throughout the root system. Better yet, apply fertilizer just before a rain.