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Lawn Care Blog

Tips on When to Prune Flowering Shrubs


Pruning shrubs and trees promotes plant health and encourages flower and fruit development, while improving a plant’s appearance. Pruning manages the size and shape of a tree or shrub, and is used to remove dead, damaged and diseased branches, suckers and crossing branches that rub together. But different shrubs require pruning at different times, and if trimmed at the wrong time, they will not bloom as they should. Today, we will focus on pruning trees and shrubs that flower in the Spring and those that flower in the Summer and Fall.

Early Spring Trimming

In early Spring, you should prune shrubs that flower in the Summer and Fall. This pruning should be done before buds break and the plants leaf out, as these shrubs “bloom on new wood,” or the current season’s growth. Included in this group are: sweetshrub, bush honeysuckle, smooth hydrangea, PeeGee hydrangea, summer-blooming spirea and repeat-blooming rose bushes.

Immediately After Blooming

Spring-blooming shrubs should be pruned as soon as they finish flowering. These plants “bloom on old wood,” meaning they set next year’s flower buds promptly after blooming. If you prune too early the plant will not bloom this year, and if you prune too late there will be no flowers next year. Spring-blooming shrubs include azaleas and rhododendrons, forsythia, Virginia sweetspire, spring-blooming spirea and spring-flowering rose bushes, lilacs, and viburnums.

At Any Time

If you notice a diseased plant, you should prune it immediately, no matter the time of year. If you wait until the "right" pruning time, the plant may be so overrun with disease that it is unsalvageable. Remember to sanitize your tools in a ten percent solution of household bleach when you are through (one part bleach to nine parts water) to prevent the spread of disease.

Master Gardener, Pamela Hubbard, from the Penn State Extension of Monroe County, gives detailed information here about proper pruning tools and specific techniques to use in your own yards when you are ready to trim your shrubs and trees.

Leave it to the Professionals

While Weed Pro does not offer pruning services, we do have a great Tree and Shrub program that provides treatments to meet the needs of your trees and shrubs through each season. We create healthier trees and shrubs using Holganix, a 100% organic bio-nutritional product, which helps plants grow strong and resistant to disease and insect damage. Our program also helps to create a nutrient-rich environment for your plants to grow in. To learn more about our Tree and Shrub program, please click here.

April Lawn Care Guide

Click below to download Weed Pro's FREE GUIDE to April Lawn Care and find out what you can be doing this month, besides pruning your shrubs, to prepare your lawn for Summer greatness. Following our monthly guides helps you stay on top of your lawncare, without getting overwhelmed or playing catch-up! 

Free April Lawn Care Guide