Category: Pruning

Assess Pruning Needs

Now’s a good time to survey your landscape and decide what needs pruning following potential freeze injury late this winter, keeping in mind that not all plants need to be trimmed. Pruning generally stimulates new buds to develop and break dormancy, so this year we recommended delaying pruning to reduce freeze injury. We had mild conditions through midwinter, which caused some plants to emerge early from dormancy. The more recent temperatures in the teens and […]

Some Shrubs Best Pruned After Flowering

Although late winter is generally the ideal time for pruning chores, many of our spring-blooming shrubs are best pruned immediately after flowers have faded. Trees and shrubs that bloom in early spring, such as forsythia, lilac, honeysuckle, quince and spirea, set their flower buds the previous fall, referred to as “flowering on old wood.” If you prune in late winter, some or all of the bloom potential for spring is sacrificed. By waiting until after […]

Question and Answer

07-05-12 Question and Answer Q. Two years ago, we lost a lilac bush that was over 90 years old. At the time, there were shoots of small lilacs coming up from the ground around the old bush. We took out the dead bush but left the shoots. Will these shoots ever bloom? They haven’t in all the years they have been there. If they aren’t going to bloom, I’d like to remove them. A. The […]

Spring Pruning of Roses

Now’s the time to prepare your garden roses for the coming growing season. The three primary purposes of pruning are to remove damaged and unwanted canes, promote optimum blooming and reduce size of the plant, if needed. Roses are best pruned before the new foliage emerges so that you can easily assess winter damage. Winter mulch and foam covers should be removed as soon as new growth becomes apparent. Since a spring freeze is still […]

Assess Pruning Needs

Now that other yard chores have slowed down, many gardeners turn to their landscape plants to assess their pruning needs. Dead limbs can and should be taken down whenever they are present. But cutting into live tissue should be delayed until late winter or early spring. That is the time of year when the pruning cuts will heal most rapidly. Pruning at the wrong time of year will not kill a tree or shrub outright, […]

Pruning The Home Orchard

For many gardeners, pruning seems to be the most daunting chore in the home orchard. In an effort to avoid cutting off too much, many of us end up not cutting at all and end up with overgrown trees. Too little pruning can result in overcrowded, unhealthy branches that produce small fruit and/or few of them. On the other hand, severe pruning also can remove much of the crop potential. Not all fruit species grow […]

Pruning Evergreens

Evergreens require a bit different manner of pruning than other landscape plants. Although a plant is not likely to die from improper pruning, it is important to note that most evergreens cannot replace lost growth the way that deciduous plants can. So while other landscape plants might be able to outgrow an errant pruning job, evergreens can suffer permanent disfigurement. Individual plants should be assessed for pruning needs. Evergreens that have been sheared into formal […]

Pruning Tool Should Fit the Job

Many landscape plants will require pruning at some stage of their life. Plants may need to be pruned to reduce or maintain plant size or to remove dead or damaged material. Pruning is also used to reduce overcrowding and rejuvenate older, overgrown plants to produce more flowering, fruiting and/or leaf canopy. Using the right tool for the job will help protect both plant and human. Both the size of the material being cut and its […]

April “In The Grow”

Q. I’ve been out in the backyard giving myself a backache chopping down ornamental grasses. We love them 363 days a year; every day except for the two that we spend chopping them down and getting rid of the debris! Any thoughts? – Amy Raley, West Lafayette, Ind. A. We buzz down our ornamental grasses with electric hedge shears and a chain saw. The task goes by quickly! We leave the dried grasses in place […]

Late Winter Recommended for Pruning Chores

If you’re itching to get outdoors and work on your garden, now is a good time to survey your landscape and decide what needs pruning. But keep in mind that not all plants need to be trimmed. Landscape plants should be pruned to maintain or reduce their size; to remove undesirable growth; to remove dead or damaged branches; and to rejuvenate older plants to produce more vigorous foliage, flowers and fruits. In some cases, pruning […]


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