This past winter was not severe but there was still some damage to plants in our landscapes. Some plants have experienced damage to the top portion of the plant and they will recover nicely after this set back, if given time. A plant that has an established root system will try to balance the top to the roots so this “recovery” growth normally is very rapid and vigorous after this setback. In order to get the desired branching it will be necessary to “tip” the new growth before it gets too long. This “tip pinch” will cause the new growth to branch rather than become one long shoot. It may be necessary to do this pinch more than once to develop a well-balanced plant.

Removal of any damaged growth from winter damage is very important at this time. It will be very easy to see this now that new growth is present. Prune out any damaged and dead branches with a nice clean cut close to the remaining portion of the plant, leaving no “stubs”. Leave no dead wood on the plant as this is an entry point for secondary problems. Any dead parts of the plant should be removed ASAP so the plant can get on with the recovery process. Adding a fertilizer like Holly Tone or Garden Tone will supply a slow source of nourishment. Watering will be necessary during dry conditions, provide 1” of water a week when it doesn’t rain for an extended period.

As we plant our flowers for summer enjoyment it is important that we remember to supply enough nutrients so the plants will give their best show for the entire growing season. A good steady diet is best rather than surges in food supply. One of the easiest ways to do this is to apply Osmocote or some other “controlled release fertilizer” that is formulated to release nutrients slowly over time. This type of fertilizer will not burn your plants and can be placed on the soil before planting and incorporated as you plant or added in the planting hole as you plant or even added after planting just before mulch is put in place. However, it is better to incorporate in the soil for a more even release of the nutrients.

It is time to begin applying fungicides for maximum protection of any plants that are affected by fungal diseases. It is important to apply fungicides before plants are affected by these diseases. This would include roses and fruit trees primarily.

The time to prune flowering shrubs is right after they bloom. Some of the varieties that have bloomed already this spring are forsythia, flowering almond, bridal wreath and similar varieties. Older shrubs benefit from removing 1/3 of the older stems of the plants all the way back to the soil level. This removal of the oldest stems will cause new ones to form and over time will completely renew older shrubs.

Enjoy the season of color that is here.

33 Years of Growing

Meadow View Growers

www.meadowview.com