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May The Force Be With You! - Forcing Branches

Updated: Dec 31, 2022

The Christmas decorations have been packed away. The forrest's trees are silvery skeletons and nothing is blooming or growing in sight. What is a gardener to do? Force! Anyone, even a black thumb can force branches into spectacular blooms and it couldn't be easier.

Choose any woody plant that blooms early in the spring with flowers that open first before it sets leaves. These trees and shrubs include saucer magnolia (Magnolia x soulangeana), forsythia (Forsythia × intermedia), red bud (Cercis canadensis), Yoshino cherry (Prunus × yedoensis) etc. All you need do is cut some of these branches with dormancy flower buds and place them in a container of water in a warm place in your home. In a few weeks these branches will burst to life with a floral show in your house.

Make sure to change the water periodically so it does not stagnate and become a breeding ground for mold and microorganisms. Also, cutting a long slit in the bottom of the branch will also help the cutting to take up water more easily. Forsithia is one of my favorites to force. Long branches become a huge arrangement that looks very royal in the smallest home.

So, the next time you hear "May The Force be with you" from a Star Wars fan maybe it will remind you to force some branches in your house.

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