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By Sara Rae Lancaster Special to HomesPlus The recent warm spell had many gar- deners dusting off their gardening gloves and shovels, anxious to get outside and into the garden. Not so fast, say gar- den experts. It's too soon to start plant- ing, but there is still plenty to do while we await spring's arrival. "February and March are ideal times to prune," said Ann Wied, consumer hor- ticulture educator and community devel- opment educator at University of Wis- consin-Extension — Waukesha County. These two months at the tail end of winter provide gardeners with a magic window when outdoor temperatures are tolerable for yard work, but the plants are still dormant. "When you're itching to get outside and do something, pruning is a great option," Wied said. "This is the end of the dormant season, just before the buds start to break. Plus, because nothing has leafed out yet, you can see into the structure of the tree or shrub to get a better idea of what you need to prune back or remove." Some trees require pruning to increase fruitfulness and growth. Some require pruning to rid the tree of diseased or weather-damaged limbs. Trees like wil- lows, apple trees and other fruiting vari- eties tend to be more high-maintenance and require annual pruning. Others, such as those in the coniferous family like spruces and pines, are slower-grow- ing and require less. Regardless, for best results keep these tips in mind before making the first cut. Use the right tools When doing any type of pruning, always make sure you have the right tools on hand and the blades are sharp. "One of the tools you'll want to have is a handsaw, which comes in different sizes," Wied said. Different from the typ- ical wood saw, these smaller, hand-held saws feature a narrow blade, and some fold to fit in your pocket. C O N T E N T S Finding décor that's durable, stylish When should garden planning begin? Now Eight areas to start on your spring cleaning Find out why all sunroom kits aren't created equal A publication of the Waukesha Freeman and Oconomowoc Enterprise • March 2017 Your Guide to Homes, Home Improvement, Lawn & Garden and MORE! HOMES HOMES WAUKESHA + Can't wait to work the yard? Pick a place to start, and that would be with pruning See PRUNING/Page 2 * Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is variable and will adjust according to the U.S. prime rate (as published by the Wall Street Journal) + 0% with a minimum APR of 3.75% and a maximum APR of 18.00%. An annual loan commitment fee of $ 36 with autopay or $ 50 without autopay is waived for the first year. An early termination fee of $ 300 may be assessed if the home line is terminated within the first 3 years. There will be no fees imposed to open the new home line. Property insurance will be required. This special offer is valid only for new home lines of $ 25,000 - $ 250,000, or existing home lines with an increase of $ 25,000 or more, with a loan-to-value (LTV) not exceeding 80% and subject to credit approval. Other financing options may be available to customers that do not meet the terms of this offer, including LTV ratios as high as 105%. The interest on the portion of the credit extension that is greater than the fair market value of the dwelling is not tax deductible for Federal income tax purposes. Consult a tax adviser for further information regarding the deductibility of interest and charges. Other conditions or restrictions may apply. Member FDIC. :KDW DUH\RXU SODQVIRU " %R\VURRPUHPRGHO 2XUZHGGLQJ )LQDOO\RXUWULSWR&DOLIRUQLD 0\1(:&$5 A Home Equity Line of Credit can help! $35 Variable Rate: Prime* + 0% Not a Teaser Rate No Closing Costs No Gimmicks www.WaukeshaBank.com | Member FDIC 253527008 Sara Lancaster Knowing where, when and how much to cut with the right tool are part of what can make pruning a challenge. A little knowledge can go a long way.