When to Prune!

Most plants benefit from some sort of regular pruning and maintenance. The trick is knowing when to prune what.

Start with the right pruning tools - The first thing you need to consider is which tool is best for the job. Four basic tools required for pruning are hand pruners, loppers, shears, and saws.

Figuring out when to prune your plants – This can be confusing, but pruning at the wrong time could result in fewer flowers and fruits, although it is rarely fatal to the plant. The exception to this is pruning too late in the season, which will encourage a lot of new tender growth that will be killed with the onset of winter.

When to prune flowering shrubs and vines – A general rule of thumb is to prune summer and fall flowering trees/shrubs in the dormant season (late winter/early spring) and to prune spring flowering trees/shrubs soon after their flowers fade.

How to prune fruit trees and berry plants – Most fruiting plants need to be pruned while they are dormant. Fruit trees and berries will steadily decline unless they are pruned and tended.

Should you prune evergreens – These trees do not need to be pruned. It is not recommended that you use pruning to keep an evergreen’s size in check. You will just stress and distort the tree by doing that.

Maintaining perennial bedding plants – Perhaps the most labor-intensive plants to prune are the non-woody perennials. The notion that you can plant perennials once and then have a maintenance free garden forever is incorrect. Most perennial plants (especially flowering ones) not only need to be cut back entirely at some point before or after the growing season, they need regular pruning, shearing, or deadheading.

When to prune plants and how much to prune is something you learn as you acquire experience gardening. Pruning is an ongoing garden task. It gets less confusing and intimidating the more you do it!