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We all are getting a little antsy by now to see signs of spring. For those of us who can’t wait any longer, there is a way to hasten spring’s arrival. Get your pruners ready and read on.
Many flowering trees and shrubs set their flower buds last season. By now they have had their required period of cold temperatures and can be forced out of dormancy. On a mild day, head outside with your pruners and select a few branches to force indoors. Stems that are less than ½” in diameter work best.
The most common and easiest branches to force are those of the yellow-blooming Forsythia. Select branches near the top of the shrub for best flowering. In addition, try forcing branches from these trees and shrubs for beautiful blossoms:
Here’s how to force them: prepare a bucket of warm water (about 100 degrees). Adding floral preservative will help stems stay hydrated longer and keep the water clean. Set the bucket aside. Fill a sink with hot water. Place stems in the sink and recut at an angle while holding under water. Immediately place stems in the bucket. Keep the stems cool (45-55 degrees) for a week or two, changing the water each week. When the first buds begin to show, create an arrangement and place where you can enjoy.
A few more tips: You may need to crush or split the ends of larger branches to increase the surface area available to take up water. If the branches you try to force don’t work, it may be too early. Try again in a couple weeks. Misting the branches frequently can help them last longer in a vase. Cut fresh branches every week until spring arrives and experiment with other trees and shrubs in your yard. Forced dogwood leaves and birch catkins can also be very pretty.
Burlington Garden Center