Not only do many plants go dormant over the winter but many gardeners tend to as well. Before you are so inclined, remember the following chores:
- Before you hang up your tools, make sure that they are cleaned (wipe pruners and other small tools with rubbing alcohol), sharpened and oiled.
- Before freezing temperatures set in: shut off and drain water to outside faucets; drain water from hoses and sprinkler systems; remove plants and soil from fragile, outdoor containers and turn them upside down or store them indoors.
- Keep bird feeders clean and stocked with seed especially during harsh weather when our feathered friends may have difficulty finding food.
- Prune almost any tree that blooms after June 1st (oakleaf hydrangea and late-flowering azalea cultivars are among the exceptions) in January or February. Winter is NOT the time to prune trees that set blooms in fall such as azalea, dogwood, forsythia, redbud and rhododendron. Prune these trees after they bloom. January and February also are the best months to prune many conifers. For more information on pruning, see the publications listed below.
Enjoy your respite while you can. Happy Winter! Happy Holidays!
1. For pruning schedules, see: A Guide to Successful Pruning, Deciduous Tree Pruning Calendar, VT Publication 430-460 at http://pubs.ext.vt.edu/430/430-460/430-460.html, A Guide to Successful Pruning, Evergreen Tree Pruning Calendar, VT Publication 430-461 at http://pubs.ext.vt.edu/430/430-461/430-461.html and A Guide to Successful Pruning, Shrub Pruning Calendar, VT Publication 430-462 at http://pubs.ext.vt.edu/430/430-462/430-462.html.
2. For pruning techniques, see: A Guide to Successful Pruning, Pruning Deciduous Trees, VT Publication 430-456 at http://pubs.ext.vt.edu/430/430-456/430-456.html, A Guide to Successful Pruning, Pruning Evergreen Trees, VT Publication 430-457 at http://pubs.ext.vt.edu/430/430-457/430-457.html and A Guide to Successful Pruning, Pruning Shrubs, VT publication 430-459 at http://pubs.ext.vt.edu/430/430-459/430-459.html.