Pruning Tips

Pruning is an essential part of gardening. (Courtesy: Stephanie Sadler at

One major part of gardening is pruning. There has been some who’ve said that many gardeners are confused or worried about the subject. They shouldn’t be. You simply have to know a few rules to be pruning like a pro. These tips include:

• Not pruning

• Prune spring flowering shrubs after flowering

• Prune summer flowering shrubs in late winter or early spring

• What to do with Hydrangeas

• Trim anytime

Not Pruning

One major question when it comes to pruning is whether it is necessary in the first place. Many gardeners believe that they must prune regularly to maintain healthy, good-looking shrubs. However, that may not be the case. Some in the know claim that once-yearly pruning is not an imperative. They say that regular pruning just results in a more compact plant with better blooms. According to this school, pruning common shrubs like lilacs, forsythia and burning bush into tight mounds in is not necessarily and not good for the plants. Many flowering shrubs will look their best when allowed to grow in their natural form. Frequent shearing encourages lots of surface branching, which results in an unhealthy structure and reduced flowering. They suggest that if you want a tight sheared look, select plants that are suited to it. An example of such a plant is boxwood.

Prune spring flowering shrubs after flowering

If you’re wondering about pruning spring flowering shrubs, it is apparently best to do so after they flower. Plants that bloom in early spring commonly produce their buds the prior year, which then opens in the spring. Pruning spring bloomers in the fall or winter means that you’re removing the buds and prevent them from flowering later. The plant won’t be damaged. However, you’ll lose out on having a blooming plant for a year. Most of these plants don’t need heavy pruning. Instead, just thin out the branches.

Prune Summer Flowering Shrubs In Late Winter or Early Spring

As for summer flowering shrubs that bloom on the current year’s growth, it’s best to prune them back in late winter. This encourages them to produce many new growths in the summer and provide more blooms. It’s okay to cut fast growing plants including buddleia and caryopteris to 10 to 12-inches tall.


Believe it or not, Hydrangeas account for at least half of the questions concerning pruning in garden forums. The confusing thing about them is that some bloom on “old wood” and some bloom on “new wood.” You need to determine which kind of Hydrangeas you have and then follow the rules. Hydrangeas with big blue or pink flowers and oak leaf Hydrangeas bloom on old wood. Prune them immediately after flowering. Hydrangea that have white, conical flowers or “Annabelle” flowers, bloom on new wood. With this group, it’s best to cut in late winter.

Trim Any Time

Finally, it’s okay to trim at anytime. You are probably seeing stray shoots and branches on your shrubs in late summer. It’s okay to cut them back. Removing a branch or two will not damage the shrub.


About Robert Janis

Written by Robert Janis for LawnEq - Your specialists for Lawn Mower Parts and Small Engine Parts. We offer genuine premium OEM parts for Land Pride, Toro and many more dependable manufacturers.