Bring the Garden Indoors by Forcing Tree Branches
Find out how to trick those naked branches into blooming.
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Winter is a time for rest and rejuvenation in the garden, so why not bring the garden inside? When brought indoors, cut branches burst into bloom.
A contorted filbert tree makes a great candidate for forcing because of its winter silhouette of twisted branches and its springtime catkins, says garden author Marianne Binetti. "In the spring the little catkins get long, green and pendulous, so you want to bring some branches indoors and enjoy them early."
When collecting branches to force, Marianne prunes to improve the tree's symmetry.
"I'm going to enhance the shape of this tree by showing off the twisted branching down low." The first branch has buds forming, perfect for forcing; she cuts it exactly where it meets the main branch.
Forcing, step by step
Plants that can't be forced
Some plants, such as lavender, can't be forced. "Don't cut lavender in the winter," Marianne says. "It's a Mediterranean plant. If I were to prune this plant now, it would send out new growth, and winter cold would kill it to the ground." To be sure, don't try to force any plant that comes from a climate that's warmer than yours.
Plant it well and take care of it, and your tree will pay dividends, providing your yard with color, shade and structure for...