Gardening Tips and Highlights

Forcing Branches for Winter Color

Does the bleak, cold dullness of winter sometimes get you down? Then why not bring springtime into your home by forcing tree and shrub branches into bloom? 

Branches can be used as background for an arrangement or for an entire floral display, and you can prune your shrubs and trees as you selectively remove branches for forcing.  

Early spring flowering trees and shrubs form their flower buds in the fall before the plants go dormant.  After a period of at least 8 weeks of temperatures below 40 degrees F (usually after Jan. 1), branches can be cut and forced into bloom.  

Most flowering shrubs are easy to force, while trees are more difficult. The later in the winter you cut the branches, the shorter the forcing time becomes. Select healthy, young branches with numerous flower buds, which are usually larger and more plump than foliar buds.  

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