Friday, March 05, 2010

Giving spring a little nudge


From last year.


Forcing branches is one of the most time-honored ways to create blooms inside during winter. I think many more gardeners are familiar with this type of forcing than they are with, say, using hyacinth glasses.

For one thing, it’s easier. There’s no chilling period; one need only cut the branches when the buds are properly matured—say a couple months before they would ordinarily bloom—and bring them inside. Then, a brief soak in water and some time in a vase—voila. Flowering branches.

I am not a big fan of forsythia (too harsh a yellow and a boring plant the rest of the year) and so don’t have any bushes, but I do have a cherry tree that I barely tolerate for its gorgeous May display. In March, I always cut a few short branches for forcing. I bring them in, soak them (submersing the entire branch) in warm water for 8 hours or so, and then put them in a vase in a sunny spot. It takes 2-3 weeks. I’ve seen much fussier directions for branch forcing on various websites, but this simple technique works for me.

I also notice that the websites rarely mention cherry branches. Can’t imagine why—works every time for me.

14 comments:

MA said...

I am about ready to "liberate" some tulip magnolias from a business parking lot. Don't tell anyone.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Lovely blooms. Maybe fewer people grow cherries so they don't talk about them much.

Susan aka Miss R said...

Every year I think about forcing branches and every year that's all I do, think about it!

Rose said...

Lovely blooms, Elizabeth! If I had a cherry tree, I'd definitely try this. Hmmm, wonder if my neighbors would notice if I snipped a few branches off theirs:) I'm definitely ready to do anything to hurry spring along as well.

Ms. Wis./Each Little World said...

We often do our apple tree branches, but still can't get to the trees for the snow. Maybe by the end of the week ...

lisa said...

Great idea! I'll begin my "recon" right away! :)

Blackswamp_Girl said...

Oh wow... I have THREE cherry trees, and they all need pruning! WHY have I not thought about forcing their branches before?! (Granted, they are the edible ones with the plain white flowers... but I knew you could force cherries.) Sheesh.

Thanks for the beautiful reminder, Eliz. I'm going to thank you again... in 2-3 weeks. :)

Jean said...

Oh yes, it seems like cherry trees would be a natural. I've never heard of submersing the whole branch. Will try that next time. I think our forcing season is already over - all the spring blooming trees have started blooming at once!

Heather's Garden said...

Thanks for reminding me that I need to cut some branches for forcing. I like forsythia and have a bush. There's a great magnolia in front of my mom's unoccupied house, I think I might have to go cut a few branches from it too!

EAL said...

Good luck all-- though it is foolproof, pretty much. So worth it when we would ordinarily not see them until May.

Layanee said...

Must go pick some cherry branches. Yours look delicate.

Liz Stein said...

For some reason, the flowering quince that blooms a rather ugly salmon pink by itself, blooms a beautiful pale pink when forced, so I always cut a lot. But I don't bother with submersing, or anything, I just stick them in a vase. Works for me, although maybe your way would be quicker?

Liz

AMIT said...

Excellent piece of flower.

bpo projects

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