Spring will soon wake up from its winter slumber, and with it will come the rainbow of color that we all look forward to. Some call it a rebirth, but it is really a reawakening.
This color arrives relatively quietly. First the crocus peeks its colorful petals out of the ground, even if it’s covered with snow. Satisfied with its surroundings and that spring is on its way, more crocus appear. Depending on how many crocus you’ve planted, you may be swimming in a sea of color.
As the crocus begins to fade, it’s replaced by daffodils, tulips and hyacinths, but these early bloomers are just the leaders of a whole parade of spring color. Trees and shrubs (woody plants), as well as herbaceous plants, bloom in spring.
Forsythia is the first shrub to bloom, showing off its bright yellow flowers. Azaleas and rhododendrons follow. Here in our area, all of this is just a prelude to Rochester’s favorite flower, the lilac.
Unlike annuals and perennials, there’s no need to pinch off spent flowers from woody plants. They set their flower buds way back in the fall, so enjoy them while they’re here because, when they’re gone, they’re gone until next year.
If your flowering trees and shrubs need pruning, resist the temptation to prune them now. These plants should be pruned after they bloom. Otherwise, you may cut off the flower buds. It’s difficult to distinguish between flower buds and leaf buds. Our professionals learn the difference in their horticulture classes, but for the untrained eye, the two buds can be indistinguishable.
Following the initial burst of color, the rainbow will begin fading to green. Flowers and their stems will turn brown on your spring bulb plants. Go ahead and cut off the spent flowers right at the base of the stem. However, don’t cut off the green leaves. They’re hard at work making food through photosynthesis and storing it in the bulb to give them the energy to flower and leaf out next year. Many herbaceous perennials will continue to bloom if you pinch off spent flowers once they’ve withered but before they drop their seeds.
After woody plants have finished flowering and leafed out, they can be pruned. Remember to cut branches back to a branch big enough to be able to take over the removed branches’ function. Also, never climb a tree or even a ladder. It’s dangerous. Instead, give us a call and let our well trained, equipped, insured professional arborists do your pruning.