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What you need:
  • Pruning shears
  • Large vase
  • Bucket
  • Bleach or a commercial flower preservative
  • Dry cleaning bag
You can start enjoying spring early by bringing limbs of various shrubs indoors about six weeks before they would normally bloom in your area. Cut 2 to 3 foot branches of flowering shrubs like willow, forsythia, ash, redbud, azalea, hazelnut, birch, maple, magnolia, cherry, apple, quince, elm, mulberry, plum, or sumac. It's best to do this when the outside temperatures are above freezing.
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Strip off a couple inches of bark and the lower limbs off the branches. Put the branches in a bucket of warm water and let them sit for a day.
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This is a good example of nice, plump buds that will respond well to forcing.
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Fill an appropriately sized vase or container with water. Adding a little bleach or some commercial flower preservative will make the blooms last longer.
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Place the branches into the container and cover it with a large plastic bag. Dry cleaning bags work well. Keep the branches in a spot that is bright but not in direct sunlight.
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Once you see blooms starting to form, remove the plastic bag.