Pruning and Nourishing Shrubs

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A lot of our spring flowering shrubs have already been blooming. I’ve noticed a lot of azaleas, Loropetalum, and Forsythia already blooming. This makes for a very pretty display of some great early color. I love to see these trees and shrubs in bloom.

When these plants have finished blooming, it will be time to get the pruners out and make a few cuts. If some of these plants make up your foundation planting or a border hedge in your yard, rather than using the hedge pruners to make a box or ball out of the plant, maybe try using a pair of loppers or hand pruners and remove any extra long branches down below the other foliage to create a looser and more natural look to the planting. This form of pruning takes a little longer, but it should improve air flow, which will reduce leaf spot and/or powdery mildew in the summer.

One more thing to be aware of in March is that plants are beginning to wake and that means nourishment after dormancy. With people, some don’t like to eat right away in the morning and others can’t wait to put something in their belly. Plants are more like the second group. If you haven’t fertilized your trees and shrubs in a few years, now would be the time to apply fertilizer.

Also, if you haven’t had a soil test done to see what nutrients are available in your soil, you may want to use something like a 15-0-15 fertilizer. Many of our soils are low in both nitrogen and potassium and this fertilizer will take care of that.