As winter starts to wind down and you begin to see a few days with milder weather, getting outside for a bit of pre-season yard work, such as pruning and mulching, makes the transition into spring and summer go a lot more smoothly. Late winter is a good time for clipping stray branches back on trees and shrubs. The plants are dormant during this time, so you are less likely to injure your trees and shrubs. In addition, the lack of leaves makes it a bit easier to see the shape of the trimmed tree or shrub.
When does the plant produce?
Get started by making a note of which trees and shrubs in your yard bloom and bear fruit in early spring and which bloom and bear fruit later in the season. Avoid pruning the spring-bearing trees and shrubs during the late winter months. They probably won't produce much if you clip them right now. It's better to prune spring-bearing plants in late fall. Go ahead and use your clippers to prune summer-bearing trees and shrubs. Shape up the plants as needed and remove dead branches. This promotes fruiting or flowering, and can even improve the strength of your plants.
Why should you mulch in winter?
Summer mulching is about keeping weeds at bay and reducing the need for frequent watering by keeping the ground moist under the mulch. Winter mulching is meant to keep the sun away from tender plants, causing them to spring up prematurely and exposing them to the elements. And the good news is it will still be there during spring and summer months to control weeds and keep the ground from drying out.