With leaves now springing open, parts of tree canopies no longer happily growing can be more easily seen. Hung up parts regularly observed include full limbs and tops of trees. Be aware. High winds of the winter annually break limbs plus we had some pretty heavy snow falls; if you haven’t yet, remember to take the opportunity to check the back “forty” perhaps before the grandkids come over. Also, this is the time to make sure dead leaves and fruit are cleaned up around ornamental trees (even though we know Fall is usually the best time to clean up debris). Leave needle mulch around conifers except for trees affected by a fungal pathogen- these needles should be thrown away (or buried deep away from trees if not possible).
Opportunistic plants are starting to pop up everywhere in planting beds; a 3” thick (measured) layer of partially decomposed bark mulch will do wonders to keep these down and the roots of desired plants cooler and moister during summer. Know that using fresh bark mulch will lessen the amount of available nitrogen to plants but this may be desired with matured conifers.
The next cherry and plum pruning cycle (plus apples and pears which missed out on annual pruning during dormancy period) is arriving after fruit set and leaf maturity. This is looking to be the end of May and early June this year. Woody shrubs such as lilac and camellia are often pruned just after bloom. Take some time to think about how you will water your desired trees and woody plants near your house once a week with 1” water per square foot of area under plant dripline when drought is occurring, twice or more if/when a heat event occurs. Last year we had heat and drought in June. If you don’t get to pruning before summer comes, WAIT until autumn (at least) if not just before the break of dormancy next year. Don’t worry, be happy and stay cool.
Your friend in trees,