With the warm winter we are enjoying, its tempting to take on Spring gardening tasks, like pruning, earlier than we should. Cutting back your woody ornamentals does a couple of things: it tells the plant it's time to begin growing again and it leaves them susceptible to freeze damage. Check the last freeze date in your area before beginning to prune When I searched online for the last freeze date for Harlingen, I got anything from January 31 to February 17. Tradition is that when the mesquites begin to leaf out, winter is over.
I'm biding my time by brushing up on pruning best practices - both online and with Doug Welsh's Texas Garden Almanac
The articles in this month-by-month guide are organized by when they are most pertinant. All the information and advice is science-based. Reading the month's chapter just prior to that month reminds me what to be aware of in my garden.
Back to pruning . . . There are multiple reasons to prune a plant
- to control its size
- for the plants health
- for better flowers and fruit
- and to train it into a particular shape, such as an espalier.
Check back for some specific tips on proper pruning. For now, exercise patience and wherever you live, wait until the chance of freezing weather has passed.