ChiloquinNews article 3/28/11
Wow, it’s almost April and I haven’t done any winter pruning. As soon as we get a sunny day above 45 (my tolerance for working in the garden) I’ll be out there getting caught up. Most places, winter pruning is done in the winter, but here that’s not a good idea. If winter pruned branches get frozen back during a cold spell, then there’s not much left by the time you cut off the damaged stems. March is usually a good time to prune, but not this March!
I like to make a round of the garden and cut back any shoots from the rootstock of the grafted fruit trees, damaged branches and suckers. It’s a good time to thin shrubs that are getting too bushy, since you can still see the stems, and get a good idea of how you would like it to look. Shrubby willows can be quite lovely if cut back from dozens of scraggly branches to just 4 or 5 main stems. If you are thinking about pruning spring flowering shrubs, it might be best to wait until they have flowered, or you may cut off too many flower buds. You can go in though and trim out all the little suckers on the lilacs without worrying about losing flowers.
Then it’s time for those plants that absolutely require specific pruning techniques. I won’t go into how to prune because that would fill a book, but what I prune will be the fruit trees, roses, raspberries and blackberries. I’m not doing much pruning on my blueberries yet because they are still quite young bushes. I also have a few vines to think about, but winter took care of the clematis by snapping off all the stems at ground level. I’m optimistic that it will grow back.
Of course, when you get done with the pruning, if you still have time on your hands there are always weeds to pull. Wherever there are patches of bare ground showing through the snow I see them, bright green and healthy, just waiting for a warm, sunny day to explode into growth.
The crocus are buried on March 26th (left) but making a comeback on March 27th (below)