Spring Care For Outdoor Plants


March 31, 2021 | View PDF

Common Lilac Buds.

With the weather turning warmer, summer will soon be upon us. Overnight temperatures are causing many to hold off for a little while but many of the established trees and shrubs are beginning to leaf out, showing us that they are ready for another growing season. Taking a closer look at nature can be a fun thing to do as part of a family walk. I know I enjoy it when my family and I take our regular walking route on nice days so I can see how things are progressing. "Look," I'll say, "the lilacs are starting to push for spring" as we walk by the row of them we see each time. I point these things out sometimes to the rolling of eyes of those with me but nature is fascinating to view and observe.

When doing so you might notice that certain plants wake up earlier than others. It isn't uncommon for the first tree of the year that leafs out to be birch, willow, or perhaps maple. Many elms are not far behind. Usually fully leafed out by the middle of May, although the cool air temperatures and the cold overnight lows in the lower 30s are causing these things to slow down a little this spring.  

Ash are often among the later trees to leaf out but not as late as perhaps oak or hackberry. An interesting thing about ash is that they are also one of the first trees to drop their leaves in the fall. Once we receive our first hard frost it won't be but a few days after and the ash will shed nearly all of their leave at one time.

In shrubs there are also interesting things to observe. There are not many of them planted but shrubs such as the forsythia actually flower before or as they leaf out in the spring. In mid to late April you will see forsythia covered with bright yellow flowers followed by rich green leaves.

Lilacs are also early to flower mostly because they form their flower structure in their buds before winter starts. This is important to realize because if you decide to prune your lilac in the springtime before its leaves emerge you may cut off the dormant flower buds and your shrub will not flower that year.

Other shrubs, such as hydrangea flower on growth that is produced this year, and so they often do not flower until July or August depending upon the species and cultivar.

Pruning and care of woody plants, particularly shrubs are something that would be beneficial for every homeowner to know. Often shrubs and young trees are not difficult to prune and can be done by most individuals. For trees that are mature, it is often best to contact a professional to perform those tasks. We have many fun workshop opportunities still happening with the tail end of our "winter" season. For more information or details about any of our workshops please visit our website at http://www.handyandysnursery.com/workshops. You can of course call us at 701-572-6083 or stop down and visit with us anytime during our regular business hours.


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