Late February – Signs of Spring

Late February – Signs of Spring

This morning I walked around my yard looking for signs of spring. I saw several, and also noticed some things that will need taking care of in the coming month of March. Here are a few things I saw that you might be wondering about too.

The ‘Arnold’s Promise’ witch hazel is in bloom! Despite our cold winter this plant is right on schedule in my yard. Some people mistake this witch hazel (Hamamelis x intermedia ) for an early-flowering Forsythia. The Hamamelis flowers are fragrant and always appear in winter, not early spring. Some varieties even start to bloom in December! ‘Arnold’s Promise’ was introduced by the Arnold Arboretum in Boston, so you know it’s a variety that does well in Massachusetts.
The stems on a high bush blueberry are bright red at this time of year, and the buds are swelling. March is the month to prune your blueberry bushes and this photo shows what to cut. You want to trim the oldest canes down hard – on this shrub the older branches are tan and the younger ones are reddish, so it’s easy to see which ones to cut! I’ve marked where I will prune these stems with green arrows. After taking off a third of the oldest stems, remove any broken branches (snow!) and if you see any crossed branches remove one of them so you won’t have stems rubbing against each other. After that, stand back and enjoy your blueberry plants.
The Pieris (aka andromeda) has red buds at this time of year that will open in March or April to fragrant white or pale pink flowers.

Once the snow melts go out and see what’s happening in your yard. The birds are singing their spring songs and the plants are showing us that winter is almost over.


  1. Wendy Paquette on February 27, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    I love all the suggestions and the thought that spring is right around the corner! You say to cut the butterfly bush stems down to 12″ so what you are saying is to cut the whole bush down, correct? My bush is about 7′ tall, much too bushy in my mind. Thanks for your help!

    • CLFornari on February 27, 2014 at 4:40 pm

      I’m glad you love this post, Wendy! Yes, I’m saying to cut the entire bush down. This is called a “renovation pruning” and the butterfly bush is one of the only shrubs that should get this treatment every year. If you cut your plant down to about 12″ it will still grow to 5 or 6 feet tall next summer. The good thing is that it keeps the plant from getting too leggy and producing all the flowers up where we can’t see them!

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