“When is it safe to prune?” is a common question we hear from clients. The best time to prune depends both on what you’re pruning and why you’re pruning. By identifying and understanding your purpose in pruning, you can plan ahead for a lush garden next year.
Flowering Shrubs & Trees
Why? These plants need ongoing maintenance to ensure flowering in the next season, as well as to control their size. In this case, the best time to prune is just after the flowers fade. This ensures that next year’s buds will not be damaged in the process. The best time to prune rose bushes, on the other hand, is typically during late winter in advance of bud break.
This is the only type of pruning that can be done year-round. Because nutrients are not being sent to these branches anyways, it will not harm the rest of the plant to remove them. In fact, pruning deadwood actually protects the healthy branches from breaking under the weight of snow during the winter.
Overgrown Plants/ “Renewal” Pruning
If your ornamental tree or shrub needs a more serious intervention, save this pruning for late winter/early spring when everything is dormant. Although you’ll lose the bloom for the coming season, saving the plant with “renewal” pruning can be a cost-effective alternative to removal. Red twig dogwood and lilac bushes are examples of plants that can benefit from this more intense pruning.
You’ll want to have these pruned during the winter. During the growing season large falling branches can damage gardens and lawns below. But when plants are dormant, they’re much less likely to be damaged. Tree pruning can be dangerous so please leave it to the professionals.
If you’d like help with pruning this winter, let us know!