There are plenty of things that you can get a start on now as we see the loom of spring months ahead. There are some gardening chores that can be done outside now as well as some indoor activities that will help you maintain your sanity.
This is a great time of year to get outside and prune fruit trees, ornamental trees and shrubs. Prune to thin plants, remove dead wood, train growth, reduce size and rejuvenate declining plants. Limit the amount of material removed at any one time to 1/3 of the plants mass. Removing more is considered heavy pruning and can cause problems, although some situations require this type of pruning.
Shearing is different from pruning. Shearing, also known as trimming involves the even (hopefully) tipping back of all branches to shape them. The most common example of this practice is when plants are sheared to form a hedge. Pruning on the other hand selectively removes individual branches.
Pruning flowering shrubs and trees now will not damage or kill them but will reduce the spring flower show because you will remove the flower buds with the pruned branches. Spring flowering plants are best pruned soon after they have finished flowering.
Needled evergreens should be planted in locations that allow plenty of room for growth instead of squeezing them into areas that will require annual pruning. Heavily pruned spruce, pine and fir will not develop new shoot growth on old wood, you can only wait for unpruned branches to grow over or hang down to cover the remaining bare areas. Juniper, yews, hemlock, falsecypress and arborvitea will tolerate light pruning in spring or summer, if you must prune these plants heavily do it only in early spring.
Once the snow has melted away walk around your yard checking shallow rooted plants like perennials for frost heaving. Gently tap down any plants that have been pushed out of the soil. It would help in the future to mulch over these plants in late November with some straw, pine needles or bark mulch to protect them from frost heaving. Actually a snow covering insulates and protects plants from winter temperature extremes. Just like rain you can’t count on a persistent snow cover, so mulch.
If you still must avoid the cool temperatures and insist upon remaining indoors, spend some time planning for spring. You may want to add new plants or a water feature; install hardscape items like patios, decks, walls and fences; install irrigation or lighting systems, possibly correct some problem areas, or maybe renovate the entire landscape. Whatever your goal, research the project thoroughly, especially the cultural requirements of the plants you are considering and then write a plan. A plant out of place is a problem plant until it dies or is moved. A well thought outnone