Winter is a great time to prune certain trees and shrubs, and to plan out landscaping projects with a design professional to ensure the right plants are going in the right space. Planning is the key to any great landscape. Below are McKay's February Landscaping Tips:
- Fruit trees can be pruned now (when you can see the form and they are dormant). Most Apples, Peaches, Pears or Plums when grown in orchard situations are pruned to allow the center of the trees to be opened up and allow the sunlight to get into the crowns of the trees. This can be done in your yard as well. Removing the leader (really the only plants you would want to do this with are fruit trees) to encourage more lateral or horizontal growth. By doing this, you encourage the fruit production on branches that can hold the weight of the fruit, plus it allows more sun and air circulation in the center of the trees. This is a more natural way of warding off mildew or disease. Give it a try.
- Oaks are best pruned while dormant, so feel free to prune them until the end of March. In addition to pruning Oak trees, you can also now prune Ash, Hackberry, Coffeetree, Tree, Lindens, Mountainash, Poplar and Willows. HOLD OFF PRUNING Black Alder, Birch, Maple, Butternut and Black Walnut until later in May when the sap stops flowing.
- Many shrubs can be thinned out at this time (renewal pruning), or headed back to reduce the size of the plants. Big overgrown red or yellow twigged dogwoods or Viburnums can be thinned out. Deciduous shrubs that bloom on new wood can be pruned back anytime from now until they start to grow in spring. If you have time and they are accessible, go to it! For more specifics on pruning, we offer an excellent DVD that can show you all of the suggested pruning methods for all of the plants that we grow. The Pruning DVD is available for delivery anytime. We do offer maintenance of all plants in your landscapes if you are interested.
- Most likely, we will be getting some new snowfalls before spring arrives. Often when the new snow arrives closer to spring, it is usually heavier and more wet when the temperatures are warmer. Be sure to knock off the snow right after it falls on any plants that will have their branches bent and destroyed. Typically heavy, wet snows are very easy to remove right after they fall, but if you wait, many times the snow freezes onto the plant and it becomes more difficult to remove and will damage the plant. Many evergreens catch the wet snows easiest, and those are the plants to watch. Be mindful of your sidewalk salt usage. Snow and ice melting products are typically not very friendly to plants (or concrete). A good alternative is to use Milorganite (Milwaukee Organic Nitrogen) for melting snow and ice on pavement. Its dark color attracts the heat from the sun, and because if its mild, non-burning formula, does not harm grass or shrubs.
- NOW is the best time to plan your new landscape, add on to your existing landscape, or maybe it’s time for a total re-do! Our architects and design pros have more time right now than they do at any other time of the year. It’s a great time to call and start your planning right now, so that you can have your plants shipped right to your door as soon as you are ready for them. Get your order placed now to reserve your favorite plants and don’t pay until they are shipped. Take advantage of this slower time of the year and have our talented people prepare you an incredible design using the right plants for the right places. Plants from McKay Nursery Company are locally grown right here in our climate. They are designed into a plan where they can grow and develop into their natural form without being out of place. Planning is the key to any great landscape.
- How about a new outdoor living space, fire pit, or perhaps a kitchen or edible landscape design… all the rage right now! Let one of our Landscape Design Pros help you with your next project. A well-planned outdoor space does not have to break the bank. See what we can do to help you enjoy your outdoor space to the max!
- Houseplants may look a bit tired after the short and cloudy days they have been exposed to since fall. Wait a bit before you start fertilizing your houseplants. As the days get longer and the sun gets stronger, then you can add some fertilizer to your houseplants, but let them start to grow before you push them. To discourage spider mites on your houseplants, mist the leaves (both tops and undersides), but do not mist fuzzy leaves plants like African violets.
- There may be lots of hungry rabbits and deer in your area. Check your existing plantings for feeding. Chicken wire is a quick fix to prevent more feeding. On shade trees, if you notice rabbit or mouse damage on the bark, you can wrap smaller trunks with aluminum foil for a quick fix, but next fall remember to use something more permanent like hardware cloth for the winter months.
- Forcing cut branches of Forsythia, Pussy Willow, Plums, Cherries, and Magnolia for your home can all be cut from your landscape later this month and placed in water, and they should flower for you beautifully and make a great indoor statement. Keep the water full and fresh.
- The “Don’t Move Firewood” campaign is a major initiative! Firewood being moved around is how the dreaded Emerald Ash borer gets it legs. Burn the firewood where you buy or cut it to prevent the bug from being moved in the cut logs.
Please feel free to contact us at McKay Nursery Company anytime for your design, maintenance and plant material needs at 800.236.4242.