A Plan for Pruning

You may notice some people are pruning their trees and shrubs this time of year. If you would like to do so, be sure to base your pruning time on the plants’ flowering schedules.

Early flowering shrubs such as forsythia, lilac, quince and rhododendrons should be pruned immediately after they flower.  This is because they will start to develop their buds for the following year’s blossoms sometimes within 3 weeks from when they are done flowering. If you prune flowering shrubs in this category anytime from late summer through spring, you will be removing potential blossoms for the following year.

Later flowering shrubs like hydrangea, some spiraea and shrubs that do not flower at all may be pruned now.

It is optimal to prune fruiting and flowering trees now as it is easier to see plant structures when they are without leaves. 

Shade trees that have suffered damage may also be shaped or pruned for safety and aesthetics at this time.  Wait until later in the spring to prune trees that profusely bleed sap such as maple or birch.

While inspecting your plants for necessary pruning, you may observe egg masses of damaging insects that overwinter on your plants, such as eastern tent caterpillar or viburnum leaf beetle.  The caterpillar egg mass can be plucked off the branch, while the leaf beetle branches must be removed and destroyed.

Pruning is always a hot topic here at Longfellow’s. Join us for our “Pruning Fruit Trees & Ornamentals” Lecture ~ Saturday, March 17th at 10 am. Click here for details. 

For more great information: https://qa.hort.purdue.edu/ext/HO-4.pdf

By Sue McIntyre

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