Pick up winter debris - leaves, twigs, branches - from garden and lawn areas. Trim away torn and broken limbs that cannot be repaired. Cut all dead wood branch tips to live tissue. Scratching the bark with your thumbnail, will expose underlying green tissue. Clean pruning cuts will heal much more quickly… eliminate jagged bark edges, with a sharp pocket knife. Dressing any trunk wounds, to encourage callusing, includes shaping the wound elliptically for proper water drainage. Eventually, the edges will callus, with the callus rolling inward to meet the inner wood. An application of
Phytech 50® will prevent excessive drying, as wounds strive to heal. Coat all edges and inner surfaces with this protective blend of oils and waxes. With sap rising and the threat of insects and diseases looming on the horizon, this becomes an additional step, not needed with winter pruning.
First, eliminate any excessive top weight, so as they foliate, there’s less of a foliage load. Trying to mend splits is an easier task with two people. First step is to scrape away some of those dried inner cells, to expose live tissue. I like to coat both halves with vaseline to keep the cells pliable and fresh during the healing process. Bind them together with clothesline or stout twine, temporarily. Do NOT use wire, duct tape, electrical tape, etc. to bind such branches back together. These cut off air circulation, hold moisture and will girdle the area. Galvanized or stainless steel carriage bolts, nuts and washers are countersunk (bark will callus over) when trying to guy two branches back to their original growth pattern. The last step is to apply Phytech 50® across the top and along the sides of the mended area, to prevent water damage and to keep pests and diseases at bay. Lastly, choose a warm spell to perform these tasks, with temps in the 50-60º range for several days.
This Kerria japonica displays many broken branches, needing
immediate attention, by cutting back to live dormant buds. And
as soils become friable, start feeding those stressed plants with
a granular, organic fertilizer.
'Robusta Green' juniper ~ partially uprooted,
with major splits in several places...
Sadly, this balsam fir succumbed to a needle cast
disease that started late last fall. All remnants of this
diseased tree must be removed, to lessen the chance of
this disease spreading to another fir, nearby.
The butterfly bush suffered many broken branches and
has been the recipient of exceptionally early spring pruning.
Surprisingly, the 'Blue Prince' holly in front
sustained little damage, despite remaining in a prone
position... buried under snow all winter. The
'Blue Princess' holly in the background has also
This holly disappeared after the first heavy snowstorm
and had snow shoveled upon it, but seems to have survived.
A closer look at the center, reveals a little pruning and guying
are in order. But, overall, not too bad.
This was a nice reward at the end of my landscape
inspection... nestled in a warm spot by the foundation,
this hardy little crocus announces spring.
And, the last Amaryllis blossom poses, as I turn
my attention to the indoor plants.
Just a reminder ~ keep feeding those birds until they're
able to start dining on insects, providing us with
valuable insect control.
One good thing about all that snow? Just last week, as the
snow melted from my banking of cotoneaster, an abundant
crop of berries on the Cotoneaster 'Perpusilla' came into
view... much to the delight of my backyard birds!
First 6 Photos: ©S.R. Calef 2011
Remainder of Photos: ©Deb Lambert 2011
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