When Pruning is Necessary
I am not a big fan of pruning; it is probably my least favorite garden chore. In fact, I believe many shrubs and trees are over-pruned. In most cases, dead, diseased, weak or broken branches can be pruned any time of year. If additional pruning is needed on an ornamental shrub, I encourage you to thin out at the base rather than hedge off the top. It is not only healthier for the plant but more aesthetically pleasing.
Pruning is often necessary to maintain a plant’s health and natural beauty. Following are my cutting-edge practices on pruning:
The best time to prune most plants and trees is when they are dormant; winter or early spring is ideal. This is my favorite time because there are no leaves and it is easy to see the plant’s branch structure.
Early spring -flowering shrubs should be pruned after they have bloomed, preferably before July 4th. If you prune flowering shrubs or trees, like Lilac and Forsythia, before they have produced blooms, you will forfeit blooms for that season only.
Early and late summer flowering shrubs like Hydrangea and Hibiscus should be pruned in late winter or early spring.
Excerpt from Late Bloomer: How to Garden with Comfort, Ease and Simplicity in the Second Half of Life by Jan Coppola Bills, St. Lynn’s Press, Fall 2016
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