Friday, March 26, 2010

When to Prune Flowering Shrubs

photo: Weigela 'Wine and Roses'

Prune spring flowering shrubs and trees immediately within one month after flowering. These plants set their flower buds on last summer's woody shoots. Common shrub examples include forsythia, lilac, weigela, mockorange, loropetalum, honeysuckle, and many viburnum species.
Summer-flowering plants set their flower buds on spring wood (this year) when they bloom. They are pruned in late summer into early fall (after flowering). You may also wait until late winter into early spring before shrubs leaf out. Some examples are crape myrtles, althea (Rose of Sharon), chaste tree (vitex) and most hydrangeas.
Other tips: remove all dead, diseased, and damaged wood anytime of year. If scale insects are present, remove the worst infested shoots, reducing the need for pesticide spraying.
Prune off weak spindly wood if it takes away from the desired shape or form of the shrub.
Finally, you can reduce shrub height by pruning off the branch(es) at point of origin, near the ground around the base of the shrub.

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