Forcing Branches for an Early Spring
This is my site Written by Geoff on February 1, 2003 – 7:03 pm

We really like Winter, to snowshoe and ski through the cleansing blankets of snow. How different our woodlot appears in the stark glow of a Winters moon. I like to run through the powder, falling down once and again to make snow angels on the hillsides. Being an outdoor person Winter is just another time for me to enjoy the wonders of nature. 

Unfortunately, last year I had to have surgery which meant no snowshoeing, skiing, and definitely no snow angels. I suddenly learned why so many people found Winter to be depressing. That was until I rediscovered the refreshing beauty of forcing branches for early Spring bloom. 

I had forgotten just how easy and how much fun forcing can be. Almost any Spring flowering shrub’s branches can be forced to bloom by February. Just grab those pruning sheers and whack off a few healthy branches just loaded with buds. Actually since we are talking about cutting shrubs which normally you baby the rest of the year you should take a little care with the whacking bit. You want to follow normal sound pruning techniques and cut off 16 – 24 inch branches although size does not really matter. 

Bring the branches inside, cut each branch at a slant, and place in a suitable container. Place the container in a cool dark area away from drafts. Change the water every 2-3 days, maintaining the original level. Bloom times will vary with the type of shrub, when the cuttings were taken, and storage conditions but usually is no longer than 3-6 weeks. 

When the flower buds are just opening move the container to your display location. Bright indirect lighting is best. Keep watering to maintain the original level. To prolong blooming move to a cool area at night. You now have a little bit of Spring to chase away the gloom.

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Modified: March 7, 2009 at 7:04 pm UTC

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