March Care CaleMarch Care Calendarndar
Repotting is one of the most important activities that is undertaken in the month of March.  Although the exact timing of repotting is mostly dependent on the weather conditions in your yard and how your trees are leafing out, March is a month when you should be knee-deep in this activity. For trees like pines you are likely just beginning to see the candles swell, which is the perfect time to take them out, comb out the old soil, get them in that new pot that you bought last year or the year before, and get the soil settled in around the roots.

Once all your repotting is done you will be dealing with pinching of new growth on almost all trees except pines. For beginners it is essential to understand that pinching, which is the removal of the tip of the new growth with your fingers, is only done on trees that are near to their final appearance. If your tree is in development then you likely will want to let the new growth grow out for a while before piching off the tip or cutting it back. If you pinch material that does not already have a good branching structure you are wasting the strongest spurt of growth each year and stopping the long branch growth that will make up the larger branches on your tree. Allow the new growth on developing stock to run until it is the length that you want, then pinch, wait for it to harden off (very new growth is soft, as it ages it will start to have a little wood inside and the stem will change color in most cases) then wire it into the position that you want, remembering to give the branch some movement. For Pines only, you should leave the new growth to grow until June or July when you candle cut. (see the pine guide.)  When branch development is done incorrectly the most common effect is what is known as “poodle” syndrome.   This describes how a tree looks when there are large tight pads of foliage at the end of a branch but there is no secondary branching visible; it is quite unnatural and should be avoided.

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