As the weather warms (60 degrees here tomorrow!) and our days grow longer, it’s time to step into the garden and see what needs cleaning up and pruning. Now is the best time in Minnesota (late February or early March in Zone 4) to prune dead or broken branches, improve structure, or control the size and shape of trees and shrubs.
There is nothing better on a warm Spring day than getting some fresh air in my yard, pruning shears in hand, tidying up what the Winter has left behind. I remove any old wood — dead stems or branches — from my shrub rose sending energy back to the plant for new growth. I have 2 dogwood shrubs that are next to a walkway and a couple of trees that need slight pruning. And a half dozen plume poppies and a bed of tall phlox I can safely cut to the ground. (I left them standing for my birds. They love the spot to hang out, as well as the seed heads.) If you have tall grasses in a confined area, you can cut them back too.
It’s much easier to do these tasks in early Spring (weather permitting) before the new growth starts coming in, but you won’t want to prune any spring-blooming shrubs or trees. For more information about what to prune when, look to your local extension office or horticultural society Web sites. In Minnesota, the University of Minnesota Extension Service offers more information on the best times to prune trees and shrubs.
I really don’t have too much to do in my small yard; it’s just a good reason to get outside. 🙂 What kinds of Spring chores keep you busy?