Pruning Trees and plants

You’ve heard the advice from family and neighbors. You know you need to do it. But let’s face it — you have no idea how or when to prune the different plants in your yard. Read on to find out the basics about pruning, and don’t forget to save our calendar guide showing which months are best to prune which types of plants, shrubs, and trees.

Why prune?

Pruning involves removing both the living and dead flowers, branches, and limbs of plants, bushes, and trees for the purpose of helping the plant to grow stronger and fuller. Pruning is not only helpful for the aesthetics of your plants and flowers, but it can also improve the health of your foliage.

How to Prune?

  1. Follow a pruning calendar, like the one below, to ensure that you’re maximizing your plants’ future growth.
  2. Use the right tools. Tools should be sharp and clean.
  3. At the right time, with the right tools, remove visibly dead foliage: leaves, branches, and flowers.
  4. Make clean cuts where branches join stems.  
  5. To encourage future growth, cut branches at 45-degree angles in the direction you want future limbs to grow.
  6. Clean up the refuse.
  7. When in doubt, call in the experts. Professional landscapers know how important pruning is, when to prune which plants, and the most efficient way to ensure full and vibrant future growth.

When not to prune?

From our experience talking with people, we have learned that many people incorrectly assume that autumn is the right time to prune all their plants. The logic sounds right on a surface level: trim back plants to let them rest for the winter.

Unfortunately that’s not how pruning works. Pruning actually stimulates new growth. By pruning your entire yard right before winter, you’re essentially telling your plants: wake up! It’s time to start growing nowBut as winter is coming, this is the opposite of the message you want your plants to receive as they prepare to rest during the colder, darker months!

That said, there are some plants you’ll want to prune in fall. Read on to see a calendar showing which season is best to prune various plants, shrubs, and flowers.

When to prune?

Follow this seasonal guide and know when to prune any category of plant in your yard. Call us with questions or to get started pruning!

Spring. Prune spring-blooming flowers as soon as flowers begin to fade. If you prune spring flowers right away, you may get a bonus bloom. Either way, your plants will be ready for next year’s bloom because you trimmed them immediately.

Prune summer-flowering plants in the spring. Since pruning stimulates new growth, you’ll activate your soon-to-flower plants right on time. Shrubs, perennials, and flowering plants should be pruned at the end of winter/beginning of spring for this same reason.  

Summer. Prune any left-over spring-blooming plants as soon as their blossoms fade, as well as “bleeding” trees, those with heavy sap production like birch, dogwood, maple.

Fall. Prune autumn-flowering perennials & annuals after they bloom and fade. After the first frost, cut down these plants and then mulch over them to protect them during winter and to promote next year’s growth.

Winter. Prune summer-blooming trees and bushes in winter when bugs and disease are less of a factor. You can also prune these types of trees and bushes in early spring.

Also prune deciduous trees and evergreens. Cut off dead limbs and remove branches that could potentially interfere with power lines or buildings. Pruning trees in the winter is best because since there are no leaves on the trees, you can see the tree’s “architecture,” to better shape the tree.

Remember, pruning encourages growth and vibrancy, and the winter months are a great time to prepare for spring. Contact us for a consultation or to get your lawn and garden project started today.

All About Pruning

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