CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- We're getting close. On a balmy Saturday this month, the sky looked like spring. Oh, are we ready!
There are a couple of things you can do now to get ready for the fun stuff of spring.
The trees and shrubs that you should prune now include Bradford pear, butterfly bush, crape myrtle, flowering dogwood, flowering plum, glossy abelia, golden rain tree, PeeGee hydrangea, potentilla, spirea and wisteria. Deciduous vines like honeysuckle should be pruned and shaped.
Hold off on the forsythia, quince and crabapple and redbud until after they bloom.
Fruit trees and berry plants need to be pruned while they are dormant. Do it now for better fruiting this summer.
Don't prune evergreens to keep their size in check. Replace a too-big evergreen with a dwarf rather than trying to minimize a large tree. A bit of pruning to improve fullness is acceptable. The new growth on evergreens is referred to as "candles." Cutting the candles back halfway, before the needles unfold, will keep the tree more compact. Candles appear between March and mid-May. I'm not a proponent of pruning evergreens!
Holly will benefit from a hard pruning now.
These are not hard and fast rules -- and any dead, decayed or broken branches should be taken out ASAP.