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Winter Garden Projects

Category: How-to Guides | Posted by: Jeremy Newell
  • Trim trees

  • Transplant trees

  • Dormant spray

  • Insulate plants with a layer of mulch

  • Dream about warmer weather to come

For me, its not often that free time aligns with nice weather in the months of January, February, and March. A sunny day at or above 45 degrees would be nice. I’m not asking for much right? If there is opportunity to get outside on a nice day there are a few things I’d like to get done. These tasks include trimming trees (fruiting and ornamental), transplanting a tree or two, applying dormant spray to fruit trees, and insulating plants with a layer of mulch.

The heart of the winter season is a great time to trim a tree. Insects and diseases that affect our wonderful trees are not active at this time. Trimming dead or unwanted branches now will allow a tree to heal before insects and diseases can take hold. Not to mention, as many trees are now leafless, branches are less messy and not as heavy!

Most of my tree trimming will be in my orchard where I will be shaping apple and peach trees for structure and health. 

Did you know that a well-trimmed fruit tree could bear more pounds of fruit than a tree that has not been trimmed? 

A trimmed fruit tree is also likely to bear fruit on an annual basis, as opposed to an untrimmed fruit tree that has heavy bearing years followed by not much at all!

After trimming my fruit trees, I’ll apply a dormant spray that will smother some problem-causing insects and diseases.  Dormant sprays should be applied at temperatures of 45 degrees or better.

I planted a maple tree last year, but now feel it is not in the right spot. While the tree is still dormant I’ll transplant it to a new spot. By the time it wakes from its winter slumber, it will be fairly situated in its new home and more prepared, than a tree transplanted in spring, for stressful days ahead.

We’ve had some seriously cold weather here in Southwest Ohio. I’ll admit there are a few young plants to which I wish I had applied a layer of insulating mulch. The damage may have already been done. But nevertheless, next chance I get, I’ll add an insulating layer of leaf compost around the root zone of the plant, being careful not to pile it up the trunk or damage any branching. Better late than never, right?

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