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Spring Flowering Trees & Shrubs
Pruning for those plants whose flowering time is before June 1st should be done immediately after flowering. Pruning later could result in the loss of next season’s bloom. Some examples include: crabapple, deutzia, forsythia, lilac, redbud, serviceberry,
rhododendron, viburnum and weigela.
Summer Flowering Trees & Shrubs
Those plants which flower after June 1st can be pruned at anytime, except in the heat of summer when insects are active. Twiggy shrubs such at potentilla and spirea also benefit from a good “haircut” first thing in the spring. They will bounce back looking fresh and full. These plants may also be lightly trimmed after each flush of bloom to promote re-bloom.
Pruning should be done to enhance the natural growth pattern of the tree or shrub. Hedging should be avoided because it encourages all growth to be at the tips of the plant. Only use this method if that is the desired effect.
Deciduous shrubs and trees in particular will benefit from a thinning and opening of their structure. Cut the branches at different lengths, 1/4” above an outward facing active bud.
When trimming branches from a tree cut just slightly forward of the growth ring. It is suggested any “in the tree” work be left to professionals.
Always use clean, sharp tools – the wounds heal much more quickly. Wound dressing should not be used, it can actually slow the healing time.
Tips & Tricks
Start pruning while plants are young to maintain the natural form and avoid the need for corrective pruning later.
Know why the plant is being pruned and what your final goal is before you start.
Remove any dead, broken, injured, diseased, or insect infested branches.
Prune out undesirable branches such as crossovers, suckers, sprouts, or those branches which are too long or too low.
Prune “bleeders” such as maple, birch and dogwood in mid-summer or late fall. Spring pruning does not injure these trees but heavy sap flow may be objectionable.