As snowbanks disappear and soils remain frozen or too wet to work, it’s an excellent time to prune trees and shrubs. During the next couple of weeks, most of the stored energy of trees and shrubs remains in the root systems. When selected branches and twigs are pruned off to create better structure or a smaller size, the energy stored in the roots will still be available for new growth that will create a stronger, more beautiful tree, or a more dense shrub.
As you prune, try to pick times and places when the ground is firm enough to avoid compacting soil. Sometimes this means pruning early in the morning when most snow has disappeared, but the ground is still frozen. Another strategy is to wait until the ground in a sunny area has thawed and firmed up. Avoid driving vehicles over soft ground.
A link here to the University of Minnesota’s Extension page – Yard and Garden – has a good deal of information on “How to Prune” and the tools needed.
We are all eager to get outside on a nice day, and get something done. Maybe this weekend some pruning will be just the right activity to inaugurate your season in the landscape.