If you read my previous post about caring for fruit trees, then you may be wondering what to do with all of the limbs that you’ve trimmed. Because late winter is the best time to shape your fruit trees, here is a GREAT way to use all of those branches that you’ve clipped and enjoy spring a little early!
How to force blossoms on fruit branches, tricking them into spring:
- First, start with branches that have swollen fruit buds. The buds will extend slightly from the branch and be plumper (and if starting to show color, even better), than leaf buds, which are tighter on the branch with a more pointed tip.
- Next, make sure that each branch is cut at a 45-degree angle. This works on fairly large branches, just make sure that you have a sturdy container that will hold them without tumbling over.
- If the branch is larger than a pencil in diameter, cut a slice or two up the center of the stem base (this will allow it to pull more water).
- Remove any buds from the lower portion of the branch, anything below the waterline.
- Soak the branch in a water bath for optimal hydration (I often skip this step).
- Place the limb in a sturdy vase with warm water and floral preservative.
- Set the branches out of direct sunlight and away from any heat source (vent, fireplace, etc.)
- Mosty importantly, check the water daily. Refill or change as needed. Keep the vase clean and the water fresh!
- Forcing blooms can take a few days or a few weeks. 60-degrees is optimal room temperature, but not necessary. If you want to speed the process, mist the stems with water and loosely cover with a black trash bag to create some humidity.
- Once the branches start to bloom, place them wherever you want to display them or use them in an arrangement. (On a mantle is my favorite place!)