When is the best time to prune?

December 2nd, 2015 by gardens_admin

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Well, that depends, but here are some basic guidelines . . . first, removal of dead or broken limbs or branches can be done at any time during the year. Most spring flowering plants form their buds in the prior growing season. These plants are considered to bloom on “old wood”. The best time to prune those shrubs is just after they flower so that they have time to set flowering wood for next spring. Plants that flower on “new wood” such as roses and butterfly bush are best pruned in the late winter to encourage the development of fresh growth and the resultant flowering wood. While crape myrtles flower on new wood also, they don’t need the butchering frequently given them. If you have to prune a crape myrtle to keep it in bounds, either transplant it to a new location or just let it grow. Unless you’re growing bonsai, few plants should be pruned in a manner that keeps them from reaching their mature aspects.

General pruning for shaping, etc., can be done during the growing season and up until Labor Day. As pruning stimulates the production of new growth, such work done late in the season can cause developing tissue to be damaged by early frosts and winter cold. Thus, avoid pruning between Labor Day and roughly mid-November if at all possible.

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