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Winter Garden Tips

  • Plant Grapes and Berry Plants

    Tips from last year's berry canes should be well-rooted. Cut off the vine above the third node from the rooted tip. Use a slant cut at the top and a straight cut at the bottom so you'll know which end is which when you transplant it.

    Plant Bareroot Fruit and Nut Trees, But Not Citrus

    Buy trees that have well-developed fibrous root systems, a single well-shaped leader, and no serious bark injury. Avoid trees with circling or tangled roots. Branches should be smaller than the trunk and growing from it at angles greater than 45 degrees.

    Prune Cane Berries

    Cane berries are most easily pruned when all their leaves have fallen off and the buds have just begun to fill out and show their light pink color. The dead canes and the plant structure are then quite apparent, and the thorns are more easily avoided. But be careful to not damage the new pink shoots; those will produce next year's berries!

    Wait to Prune Frosted Plants

    If plants are damaged by frost, don't remove any of the dead foliage or branches. Plants may look messy, but these damaged portions will protect sensitive growth further inside the plants from later frosts. Wait until growth begins in spring to start trimming. You may find that branches which appeared dead are alive and well after all.

    Hold Off Pruning Spring Bloomers!

    Wait to prune spring-flowering ornamentals until just after they bloom. Pruning now will remove the wood that already has bloom buds set inside, stimulate frost-tender new growth, and possibly remove wood that was not truly dead.

    Gardening Tips from Yvonne Savio, Pasadena, California