60 January 6, 2007

We are into a new year and we are still waiting for Mother Nature to show us what winter looks like in New England. However, I am in no rush for her to really show us winter.

There was an interesting news report on one of the Boston TV stations. They were doing a report from the Arnold Arboretum. They showed pictures of trees and shrubs that were in bloom. These plants would normally bloom in the spring, but the abnormally warm weather was making the plants bloom now. The sad part is that any of the plants that are blooming now will not have any flowers come the spring. The plants will probably be fine.

Many of you are concerned by the effect that this warm winter will have on our shrubs and trees. As is the case at the arboretum, we may get plants blooming early in the season. My biggest fear would be that we continue with a warm winter and then during February or early March we have a spell of severely cold weather. This has the possibility of damaging shrubs and trees. I honestly don’t know that there is anything we can do about that happening. We just have to trust  Mother Nature won’t throw us that type of a curve.

Normally, at this time of the year, we are stuck in the house. You can get outside and do yard work. The ground isn’t soggy so you could rake up the lawn and get rid of the dead crabgrass and any debris that may have fallen from trees. Raking now will save you a lot of time come the spring. This would also be a good time to prune any of your trees. It is a good idea to prune trees to control their growth. I know that many people are afraid to prune plants because they are fear that they will do it wrong. Most plants can survive and grow despite any “bad ” pruning. You want to remove any broken branches. If you have small branches that cross over each other, then one of the branches should be removed. As the tree or shrub grows, branches that closely cross over each other will wind up being branches that rub up against each other. Ultimately the bark gets damaged and insect and diseases have a chance to damage the plant. It is also a good idea to prune plants so that sunlight can get into the center of the plant. This is a little more complicated than I could explain in a few sentences. If you are leery of trying it, than you should be able to get a landscaper to do it for you. Many of them are looking for work at this time of the year.

As is always the case, people have seen their spring flowering bulbs poking up out of the ground. This doesn’t hurt the plant. Ultimately, you may wind up with a few leaves with brown edges. The bulbs should flower as normal. Again, Mother Nature knows better than we do.

Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.

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