Winter is a great time for pruning

Published 9:01pm Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Happy new gardening year! Now that all the season’s festivities are over and the Christmas decorations are packed away, it’s a good time to turn your attention to the great outdoors.

How about a great inexpensive way to work off that turkey gravy and fruit cake?

Grab that lonely leaf rake in the garage and head to the yard and get those leaves left from November.

It’s a great way to get exercise, fresh air,sunshine and it’s not hard work. What could be better?

While you are out there, take a quick assessment of your yard. Does that large holly blocking your window need pruning? Does that lonely little azalea every grow and bloom like it should after many years? Or maybe you’ve been thinking about planting a tree to give some shade to the back patio?

Now is a good time to tackle these projects before life packs another punch of parties and celebration. It’s a good time to prune those leggy nandinia bushes or overgrown privet shrub. Here is a rule of thumb to remember: If it will bloom in the spring, don’t prune it.

This includes azaleas,forsythia, baby breath spirea etc. If it does not bloom or will not bloom until May, you can prune it now. If you are uncertain, consult your nursery professional. I guess it’s never to early to say, don’t prune those beautiful crepemyrtles down waist high like many people wrongly do around town. Simply cut off low limbs and sucker growth around the bottom to show off the upright growth and smooth bark of this wonderful tree.

Cutting back to waist high makes the tree a stubby little shrub. I guess we’ll mention this wrongful pruning tactic several more times before spring.

One more suggestion before I part. All those colorful seed and rose catalogs will be pouring in soon. Looking through those is like sitting down at the holiday table, you should practice some restraint. Always make sure that the plant will grow in our zone and soil.

While you are out raking leaves and doing those yard chores, wave at your neighbor you haven’t seen in a while. See, gardening is great for everyone.

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