Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Winter Preparations

Here we are in mid-February and for most of the country, winter seems to have barely touched us. Here in southern Illinois, where we should be experiencing the coldest part of our winter, with temps often in the teens, it is a balmy 39 degrees today. The groundhog recently predicted six more weeks of winter but spring is just over the horizon by my senses.

What that means for gardeners is itchy fingers. And what this mild winter allows us to do is get outside and prune like crazy. Normally it is so cold, many of us do just the bare essentials and scurry back indoors to sip hot chocolate in front of the fireplace or perhaps the computer screen. With temperatures remaining so moderate, now is a good time to get outdoors and trim up those deciduous trees and shrubs. For more on this, read “Pruning Your Illinois Trees and Shrubs.” While it addresses a few specific circumstances that relate to Illinois, the overall gist of it applies to everyone.

Another thing many gardeners are doing now is planning and ordering new trees and shrubs for our landscape gardens and orchards. If you aren’t receiving the catalogs in the mail, you can find websites for local and national nurseries online. Remember to consider your planting zone, soil type and the pollination needs of the trees and shrubs you are contemplating before you order. Some require a specimen of another variety in order to insure pollination and you may have room for only one.