Early heat means an early garden season, but also time to prune trees

PHOENIX - The warmer weather means you’ll be able to get a jump start on your flower and vegetable garden, but it also moves up the urgency to prune trees.

“Things like petunias, which might not be in bloom like this this time of year, already are,” said Brian Blake, a gardener with Whitfill Nursery.

Blake suggests starting with good fertilized soil. When planting your flowers or vegetables, don’t forget to pull apart the roots and water well, especially in the first couple of weeks.

He also says to avoid seeding a garden if you can and choose a more mature 4-inch pot sized plant instead.  December is typically the month to do this if you’re starting from scratch.

“By starting with a plant that's already up to size, you're starting with a plant that was planted in December and so you're going to get a lot longer season,” suggests Blake.

The early heat, while great for flowers, could be damaging on your trees if you prune too late.

“It would have been better to do it a week ago because it's so warm it looks like right now it's just going to go full leaf,” said Blake.

But there’s still time, so act fast on pruning citrus, fruit and leaf trees like elms.

Start with pruning lower branches before they turn into larger branches. That will also give the tree room to fill in.

“When you have damaged limbs, you probably want to take that off. And then if we have branches that cross over each other, like this branch that's going to rub on this other branch, we will take that branch off as well,” Blake showed us.

Blake also advises to trim the areas that appear uneven to distribute the weight of the branches evenly.

And if you’re looking to plant a tree, now is the time to do that, also, before it gets too hot.

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