Tree & Shrub Maintenance
- If there are trees and shrubs which have incurred damage from ice storms or heavy snow now wouldbe an ideal time to prune and remove the damaged areas.
- Use a pruning saw for broken branches larger than an inch, Corona and Felco make great pruning saw products.
- For branches 1 inch and smaller use hand pruners which Corona and Felco also make in an array of styles such as by-pass or anvil.
- If there are trees and shrubs which have incurred damage from ice storms or heavy snow now would be an ideal time to prune and remove the damagedd areas.
- Be sure to remove any dead or diseased wood from apples and pears. This includes spurs with mummified fruit from brown rot (a small brown spot that enlarges to cover the whole fruit) injections earlier in the season.
- Check for cankers (sunken, swollen, disorted and cracked areas of bark). Remove the damaged areas to prevent infection in the spring.
- Use GardenTech Rootone to root cuttings of plants like red twig dogwood and forsythia. Herbaceous (non-woody) plants are the easiest to root; deciduous shrubs are the second easiest. Deciduous and evergreen trees and evergreen shrubs are the hardest and least likely to survive.
- Hoffman’s Vermiculite and Perlite are good products to use when you’re trying to root cuttings, they are considered soil-less media and will promote better root growth then potting soil.
- Prune fruit trees such as apple, peach, plum and more. Crane fruit such as grapes, raspberries, and blueberries can be pruned as well.
- Prune winter damaged trees and shrubs. For larger trees think about hiring an arborist for taking down those difficult trees you and your house could be hurt by pruning.
- Prune spring slowering shrubs immediately after flowering if you so desire.
When using any of the products listed below, follow the manufactures diretions and apply when temperatures are above 60 degrees to maximize effectiveness.
- In late March or early April apply All Seasons Oil Spray by Bonide to help with winter moth infestations. Apply Tree Tanglefoot Pest Barrier to the trunks of trees to create a sticky barrier that traps female insects and reduces egg production. Host plants for winter moths include but are not limited to deciduous and fruit bearing trees.
- All Seasons Oil or Lime-Sulfur Spray by Bonide can be used to help contol cool season mites that become active in mid to late March. Apply the Lime-Sulfur Spray as the buds start to swell before they open.
- All Seasons Oil can assist in the control of Hemlock wooly adelgid. This insect has been active all winter and will remain active until the weather begins to warm.
- White Pine Weevil becomes active with the warmer temperatures and seeks new terminal (main shoot) growth for egg-laying. Now is the time to treat for preventing damage from this pest by using products like Bonide Borer-Miner Killer.
- Monitor for Hemlock Wooly Adelgid. What to look for? Fluffy, white, cottony masses along the branches and needles.
- Applying grub control products now is not necessary yet. Wait until later in the spring, see a Nursery Salesperson for more information.
- Monitor for Winter Moth Caterpillar. At bud break, look for small green or brown caterpillars with two white stripes. Also notice the two nub-like bumps on the body of the caterpillar, this is another indicator of the invasive pest.
- Western Conider Seed Bug and the Ladybug become house invaders in the late fall and winter months. They go dormant until the early spring. As the weather starts to warm up, the insects become active again. At this point they are probably already in the home, only dormant. They don’t bite or sting and can be removed by vacuuming them up and destroying the vacuum bag after use.
- Check your plants for brown-black branches, a sign of fire-blight. Fire-blight affects such plants as crabapple, apple, pear, firethorn, hawthorn, and cotoneaster. Remove dead branches and dispose of the away from the plants to reduce inoculum (bacterium that causes the infection). Be sure to disinfect the pruning tools used to remove the damaged branches. The spread of fire blight can be reduced by applying organic products which contain sulfur and copper as their active ingredients, such as Bonide Fire Blight Spray. Being application when the tips of the buds begin to turn green to ensure proper timing.
- Collect and remove any leaves you missed in the fall clean up to help reduce over wintering inoculum that could re-infect the plant material in the spring. Such as:
- Apple scab: The first symptoms are water soaked lesions on leaves that turn olive green to dark gray and develop a velvety appearance. Eventually infected leaves turn yellow and drop from the tree early. Bonide’s Infuse can help reduce the infection.
- Dogwood anthracnose: The first symptom is leaf spots which are round to blotchy and have tan centers with reddish purple margins. During wet years, multiple spots on leaves combine to form irregular, tan blotches or blight enitre leaves. Bonide’s Infuse will assist in the reduction of infection for this disease.
- Clean up any beds that have weeds to prepare for mulching in the spring.
- Be aware that many diseases will over winter in the soil or on plant debris and re-infect plants when they come up the following year. It may be necessary to plant new specimens in another place if the problem is severe.
- Finish planting summer flowering bulbs. They do need a cold period before it warms up to activate the growth and flowering processes in the bulb. (Bulbs placed closer to the surface of the soil, such as crocuses, should wait to be planted because frost can potentially injure the bulb).
- Use Jiffy Seed Starter Pots and packs in conjunction with Fafard’s Potting Mix to get a head start on perennial or vegetable seeds.
- Beets, carrots, lettuce, onions, peas, radish, spinach, parsley, mustard greens and swiss chard can be sowed if the soil is workable. To know if the soil is workable, squeeze a handful of soil to see if water drips out. If it crumbles easily with the pressure from your hand, the soil is ready to work.
- Transplant or move any shrubs or trees that you wish for a new location.
- Deer ticks are present during this time of year. Be sure to check for deer ticks after playing or working outdoors. Deer ticks are active with the first warm temperatures in March. Deer ticks often transmit Lyme Disease.
- Plant herbs like parsley, thyme, basil, chilves, cilantro and rosemary. By planting these herbs, you can save money and enjoy the rewards of good gardening.
- Mow the grass if the weather is mild enough and the lawn shows signs of new growh. Be sure to make the first cut a light cut which should be a ¼ of an inch higher then normal mowing heights. (Heights vary on lawn types, Kentucky Blue normal is around 2 inches whereas a Tall Fescue is 2.5 inches)
- Be sure to remove pond deicers as the weather starts to warm.
- Visually inspect pumps, water features and lighting systems for any winter disturbance and replace in the pond after checking that they work properly.
- Remove any netting placed over the pond to protect it from autumn leaf fall.
- Clean any pond filters because they may have some debris or leaf litter in them.
- Test your water quality (if you have fish) and correct if necessary. Avoid any arbitrary water changes and work with Mother Nature.
- Add some nitrifying bacteria and some Organica Pond Clarifier, Clean-Out or Pondzyme to head off subsequent water quality problems.
- Begin feeding the fish to prevent algae development from excess food. Use a Spring/Fall food like PondCare Spring & Autumn Floating Pond Sticks with low protein and high carbohydrates formulated for water temps from 42-70 degrees. Following the manufacturers directions on times and quantities of feeding.
- Many natural food sources that birds rely on have been exhausted by the winter, so feeding birds in your garden becomes more important. Lyric Bird produces many types of seed like Nyjer and Sunflower Seed to attract a wide range of birds.
- C and S Suet is great for wild birds in the winter as it provides a high caloric energy source for surviving cold winter nights.
- Droll Yankees bird feeders are ideal to put up for your birds to enjoy a tasty treat.
- Use Havahart products to protect your feeders from predators and bird seed scavengers.