When Is The Best Time To Prune Shrubs?
Choose Winter or Early Spring
Fall Is The Worst Time To Prune
Did you know that cutting back old branches and stems encourages new growth? This means that whenever you prune your trees or shrubs, you are giving them a head start for this year’s growing season. If you choose to remove old or diseased branches – even just to shape or form your plant – during the fall, you are encouraging new growth.
Instigating new growth in your plants during the fall can put the plant under a great amount of stress. The fall is when plants are preparing to go dormant, not start new growth.
Trees and Shrubs To Prune
Cleaning up the trees and shrubs around your home in the spring can make your space so much neater. It might take a bit of work to properly prune and shape your plants and perennials, but it takes time away from having to cut your plants again in the middle of summer.
You can get away with a regular trim as it will only contribute to more healthy growth in your bushes and perennials. Cut back any overgrowth and take the time to prune perennials to about 3 inches. This leaves enough space for them to grow properly and look great.
With proper care, perennials can last for years. Aside from pruning in spring, they’re relatively low-maintenance so they’re a good choice for planting throughout your gardens.
Keep Chipped Hedges Looking Great
Remove Unwanted Evergreen Branches In The Winter
Evergreens are beautiful trees and shrubs that keep their lush green colour all year round. This can make it difficult for many gardeners to determine when they can cut a branch of their tree without damaging the wood or tree entirely.
It is best to remove dead or unwanted lower branches from evergreens during the late winter. Just like other plants, evergreens will go dormant during the winter. It is best to prune your evergreen during the winter because you can cut off a branch before growth begins, giving the tree an opportunity to heal.
Keep Flowering Plants Blooming
Flower Buds on 'New' Wood
A tree or shrub that produces flowers or fruit on this year’s growth should be pruned in the late winter or early summer before the new growing season begins. When pruning is done at this time, overgrown fruit trees or flowering shrubs may produce more flower buds and fruit later in the spring.
If you like seeing your fall-blooming clematis, smooth hydrangeas, panicle hydrangeas, potentilla, roses, rose of sharon, dogwoods in bloom, take the time to prune in the early spring.
Flower Buds on 'Old' Wood
If your plant’s flower buds will bloom on growth that happened last summer, then it is an ‘old’ wood flowering tree or shrub. Some examples of these types of flowering plants are azalea, spring-blooming clematis, flowering almond, forsythia, and lilacs.
If you prune your tree or shrub too early into the spring, you risk cutting off buds and other blooms. This would severely hinder the year’s growth as the plant needs to try to collect more nutrients and energy to attempt its spring flowering again. Any flowering shrubs or trees like lilac, rhododendron, and forsythia should be pruned in after they bloom in the late spring or early summer to avoid pruning flower buds that are important for pollination.
Deciduous Shade Trees
How To Prune Trees and Shrubs
Remove Dead Or Diseased Stems
Prune On A Mild Winter Day
Remove Branches And Cuttings From The Ground
Cut At The Node
A plant’s node is where branches, leaves, and aerial roots grow out of a plant’s stem. This is the most effective spot to prune because it cuts back any dead or old wood at its main source. As you prune the old areas of the plant, growth is stimulated and new buds will appear.
You can easily find see a node when inspecting one of the main stems or branches of your plant. The wood will have a callus-like bump where flower buds or new stems grow from. Plants need to be pruned just above the wood node to maintain their ability to produce branches, stems, or flower buds from that stem.
Pruning Your Garden
We have tried to simplify pruning in this article, but it can be difficult to determine when you should or shouldn’t prune. Riverwood Landscape can provide any tips or services you may need to keep your southern Ontario garden looking great.