Don’t forget to tackle these 3 gardening tasks ahead of spring

ByBeth Botts
Chicago Tribune

It may be winter, but there’s still more to life than binge-watching TV. On a sunny day, bundle up and get outside for some gardening. You’ll get a head start, lift your spirits and set your mind on spring.

“It’s a good time for tasks that are best done while trees, shrubs and perennials are dormant,” said Sharon Yiesla, plant knowledge specialist at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle. You can find out more about the following tasks at www.mortonarb.org/plantadvice.

Prune shrubs. Cut back too-big shrubs, shape them up, get rid of dead wood and broken branches or detangle them by removing older stems. Just pay attention to the kind of shrub you’re pruning.

“The most important difference is bloom time,” Yiesla said. “Spring-blooming shrubs such as forsythia and lilac already have their flower buds, so if you prune them now, you’ll sacrifice some flowers this spring.”

Shrubs that bloom later in the season, such as bottlebrush buckeye and beautyberry, won’t form flower buds until spring, so pruning them now won’t affect their flowering.

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