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Gardening tips for Duluth's Northern climate, hosted by Master Gardener Tom Kasper.

Tips for Hardy Gardeners: Time (and Temps) for Early Pruning

A person pruning a bare tree in the wintertime in a small snow-covered yard
Chris Luhman [via Flickr]

The unseasonably warm weather might be a welcome easement from the typical arctic chill of January in the Northland, but the lack of snow and higher temps could have a negative impact on spring gardens this year and in years to come.

Although there is plenty of downside to this January thaw, Tom Kasper is choosing to find the silver lining by making the most of the uncontrollable weather with a round of pruning. "Now would be a perfect time," says Kasper about pruning. A good prune typically means removing about 20 percent of branches, and it start with a focus on dead or cracked branches. Vertical and crossing branches should also receive some attention, especially on fruit-bearing trees. "You really want as much horizontal growth as you can, because that's where your greatest fruit production occurs."

If pruning sounds strange for this time of year, Kasper also tosses out the possibility of mulching. If the weather doesn't steer toward more traditional winter temps, it could mean a jump on other early garden maintenance projects. "Wouldn't it be crazy to be out mulching in January?"

You can hear Tips for Hardy Gardeners every other Tuesday at 8:20am on Northland Morning.

Luke Moravec is the host for Northland Morning on The North 103.3. He’s also a local actor, musician and writer. He loves puzzles, riddles and fun mysteries.
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