Here in the Hudson Valley now, and soon as one travels up the slopes of the Catskill Mountains, winter gardening chores should be completed outside. Just a little time and effort spent outside now will go a long way towards improving your property’s look and productivity over the growing seasons to come. It is time to review your pruning guides and sharpen your pruners, there’s work to be done.
- Prune: grapes and fruit bushes and trees now; flowering shrubs (especially forsythia) lightly over the next few weeks for forcing indoors; then roses as they begin to have bud-swell.
- Clean debris from protected southern exposures so early spring bulbs can flourish.
- Cut back ornamental grasses, or, if they are safely away from structures and dormant woody shrubs, burn on still days when the ground is snow-covered.
- Inspect and mark trees with insect damage, weak branches or split trunks before they leaf out so you can identify them and correct the problem(s) later in the season.
- Inspect bee hives for adequate food as warmer days allow more bee activity. The cost of a five pound bag of sugar now could save you hundreds of dollars worth of bees later.
- A bonus tip – tap those maple trees as the warm days and cold nights start the spring sap flow for a fun, family project that will provide delicious maple syrup for the coming year.
The few hours each weekend that you spend outside now will improve both your physical and mental health, will reward you with more flowers and food next season and will improve your property’s value. So – sharpen your skills and get to work. You’ll be glad you did!