Now that March is over, the time has come for homeowners to turn their attention to their landscape. While it might not feel like the perfect time to be outdoors getting your hands dirty, April is a great month to take care of many important tasks in your home landscape. So what should you be doing this month? Below, we’ve shared a list of tips from Steve Tonn for the Washington County Pilot-Tribune & Enterprise. Enjoy!
March and April are the months to apply dormant oil sprays to fruit and ornamental trees to “control insects overwintering in cracks and crevices on trunks and branches.” Tonn says these sprays should be applied before plants begin to bud out and only when the temperature is above 40 degrees. These oils can be damaging to tender plant tissue so refrain from using them once flowers or leaves begin to grow.
Tonn says that March is also a good time to prune fruit and shade trees while they are still dormant. A small amount of pruning of fruit trees each year “encourages production of fruiting wood and opens trees to increased light penetration which increases fruit productivity and quality.” Tonn advises pruners to make proper cuts using sharp pruning tools and to avoid pruning paints or wound dressings on pruning wounds. Tonn says that if you are dealing with a larger tree, you should contact a certified arborist.
Here are some other good pruning practices:
- Never leave stubs
- Cut damage branches back to laterals or the trunk but preserve branch collars by making cuts just outside of the collar and branch bark ridge.
- Use the three-cut method for larger branches to prevent stripping the bark.
- Never remove more than 20 percent of the total leaf area of the crown when cutting live branches.
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