Don’t be confused about when to prune your shrubs. Although my father had good intentions, he tested many shrubs ability to withstand severe pruning at the wrong time of the year. Don’t prune just because it’s convenient for you or you don’t know when to prune.
My approach to designing landscapes and gardens includes selecting plants for their anticipated mature size. Some plants really prosper and grow bigger than expected. In these cases, they may need some pruning to control their size. There are a few shrubs that need to be pruned severely every year or two in order to produce a more beautiful, lush plant, such as Redtwig Dogwood and Bluebeard. Most low-maintenance shrubs will only require light pruning to improve their shape or remove damaged or diseased stems. Yes, even the best plants can have problems at times.
Spring Blooming Shrubs
Simply stated, spring flowering shrubs should be pruned shortly after they finish flowering. The reason is that they set their buds for next years flowers after they bloom. If you prune them now, you’ll cut off next spring’s flower buds. If they need pruning, wait until next spring after they bloom.
Light pruning of other shrubs in your Asheville landscape should be pruned by the middle or end of July. Pruning will prompt new growth. This new growth needs time to harden off before cold weather comes. If they’re pruned after July, the new growth is in danger of being killed or damaged by autumn frosts. Then, you’ll have even more pruning to do and a damaged shrub.
This guideline also applies to fertilizing your shrubs. It’s not advisable to fertilize during periods of hot, dry weather like we’ve experienced this summer. It will prompt new growth and take energy out of your shrubs while they may be struggling just to survive the dry weather.
Ideal Pruning Times
Minimal pruning can be done during cold weather when the plant is dormant. I always enjoy cutting evergreens to use as holiday decorations. Removal of dead or damaged stems should be done as soon as the problems are noticed. The best time to prune summer flowering shrubs is in late winter through early spring. Evergreens should generally be pruned in early spring after danger of frost has passed.
Here’s the caveat.
Although we’ve had rain this week, it’s been dry and hot this summer. Unless you absolutely have to prune or fertilize your shrubs, it would be best to wait until next year, and hopefully, the weather conditions aren’t putting so much stress on them.
If you need help with your landscape and gardens, please contact us.
Terri Long Landscape Design, Inc.
PO Box 19004
Asheville, NC 28815