Thursday, January 13, 2022

When To Prune Deciduous Shrubs


Pruning clippers

One very important part of gardening is knowing when to prune your plants.  Pruning at the right time will result in healthy ones. Pruning at the wrong time may result in their being unhealthy, unattractive and unproductive.

Since there are so many types of plants to consider, we’ll focus in this article on deciduous shrubs. 

The best time to prune depends upon their growth habit, bloom season, and condition. 

Spring-flowering species such as forsythia, Japanese quince and lilac bloom on buds produced the previous season. Early pruning will remove many of those buds and reduce the flowery display that we anticipate so anxiously. 

Since overgrown shrubs might need a lot of pruning, the best time to work on them is late winter or early spring before growth begins. The precise months will vary depending on your climate zone. Extensive pruning will certainly reduce the number of blooms produced for the next couple of years, but the shrubs will be better off in the long run.

You should wait to prune healthy spring-flowering shrubs until just after flowering. This will allow you to enjoy the spring flowers while allowing plenty of time for growth and new buds to set for next year’s display.

Summer-flowering species such as dwarf crape myrtle, spirea, and butterfly bush bloom on new growth.  Prune them in late winter or early spring.  They should bloom that year. 

If you’re growing certain shrubs for their attractive bark, colorful foliage or fruit, prune them in late winter or early spring before growth commences. 

Avoid pruning deciduous shrubs in late summer.  August or September pruning might encourage a late growth spurt.  The tender, new growth likely won’t harden enough before cold weather arrives and will be vulnerable to frost damage. 

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