Do you remember that bush that kept trying to knock you off your zero-turn last year. Now is a good time to think about trimming it. Some of you can see the ground by now and you may want to prune some of your bushes and shrubs.
Here is a list of bushes and trees and the best time to prune them. I don’t remember where I found this list but it is accurate and pretty complete.
I’ll throw in a few pictures of the proper way to prune and shape.
Here are 3 great websites for identifying trees and bushes.
ALDER Prune in winter or early spring.
ARBORVITAE Can sheer anytime. Needles mainly around trunk will yellow naturally. Fertilize in spring with Miracid.
BALDCYPRESS No pruning necessary. Water during dry spells.
BARBERRY Prune anytime.
BEECH Prune only to remove dead or damaged wood.
BIRCH Prune late summer to avoid bleeding. Do not remove papery bark. Apply additional water regularly.
BOXWOOD Can prune individually or sheer to form hedge effect anytime during growing season.
BURNING BUSH Prune as needed in early spring to maintain shape and size.
BUTTERFLY BUSH Cut back hard in early spring before bloom. Remove dead flowers to prolong bloom period.
CHOKEBERRY Prune after flowering for size and damaged branches.
CLETHRA Prune if necessary in early spring. Apply extra water during dry spells.
COTONEASTER (Spreading) Prune as needed. May need to hand weed.
COTONEASTER (Upright) Can prune in June or July after growth spurt.
CRABS Prune if needed by early June after flowering. Remove suckers anytime. Fertilize only in spring and early summer.
CURRANTS (Alpine) Prune anytime. Usually formed into hedge.
DAPHNE Prune after flowering to maintain shape or to remove dead wood.
DOGWOOD (Cornelian Cherry) Prune after flowering. Can remove lower branches to form a small round tree. Remove suckers anytime.
DOGWOOD (Gray) Suckers naturally to form colony. Prune only if necessary.
DOGWOOD (Ivory Halo) Cut back 1/3 of oldest branches to 6-12” from ground in early spring to retain red coloration.
DOGWOOD (Pagoda) Prune after flowering, only if necessary. Heals slowly.
DOGWOOD (Red twig) Cut back 1/3 of oldest branches to 6-12” from ground in early spring to retain red coloration.
FORSYTHIA Prune after flowering to control growth. Cut back some of oldest branches to ground (no more than 1/3 of the branches.)
FOTHERGILLA Little pruning needed. Prune after flowering, if necessary.
HAWTHORN Prune only to shape in later winter. Prune suckers anytime.
HOLLY Little pruning needed. Can prune in winter.
HONEYLOCUST Prune in late summer as needed. Try to keep central leader as long as possible.
HORNBEAM Prune only to retain tree form or “tight” multi-stem form. Do not disturb rugged, natural appearance if that is the look you desire.
HYDRANGEA (Annabelle) Cut down to 12-24” from ground in spring. Keeping last year’s sturdy growth will help make the plant more upright and less floppy.
HYDRANGEA (Oak Leaf) Can prune after flowering if needed to maintain shape
JUNIPER Can prune in June or July after growth spurt. Avoid cutting in dead zone or center of plant (it will NOT grow back.)
KERRIA Cut out old wood after flowering. Can prune to ground if desired to maintain size.
LILAC Cut back high-growing shoots by 1/3 to 1/2 immediately after flowering. Remove weak growth from bush interior.
LINDEN Prune as needed.
MAGNOLIA Prune if necessary after flowering.
MAPLE Prune in late summer to avoid bleeding.
OAK Prune in winter to remove desired or broken branches.
PEAR Prune after flowering to maintain shape, if necessary.
PINE (Mugo) To maintain size and compact appearance, remove ½ of new growth (the “candle”) in the spring.
PINE (Tree) Mulch at base; water liberally in fall before ground freezes.
PRIVET Sheer into hedge effect in summer.
PURPLE PLUM Best pruned in late winter. Cut young wood back to within 2 or 3 buds of old branches.
QUINCE Prune after flowering to maintain size desired and to keep center of plant open.
REDBUD Prune after flowering, only if necessary.
REDWOOD (Dawn) Seldom requires pruning.
RHODODENDRON Little pruning needed. Can prune after flowering. For tight, compact shrub, snip off end of new sprouts. Fertilize with Miracid in spring or fall.
SERVICEBERRY Prune only to shape after flowering.
SHRUB ROSES To prepare for winter, mulch around base of plant. Prune in early spring when buds are beginning to swell. Cut on a slant above bud. Snip off fading blooms.
SMOKEBUSH Can be pruned back hard in early spring to induce strong shoots with large leaves.
SPIREA Prune if desired in early spring before leaves come out. Remove faded flowers to prolong bloom period. Can rejuvenate prune by cutting back to 3’ from ground in early spring.
SPRUCE Mulch at base; water liberally in fall before ground freezes.
SUMAC Can remove suckers anytime.
SWEETSPIRE Little pruning needed except to remove any damaged wood in the early spring.
VIBURNUM Can prune as needed after flowering. Can remove suckers anytime.
WEIGELA Can prune after flowering by cutting back the previous year’s growth to new shoots. May need heavy pruning to get rid of deadwood and winter injury.
WINTERBERRY Trim lightly as growth begins in spring.
WITCHHAZE Little pruning needed. Can prune during flowering if desired.
YEW Shear 1-2 times during growing season to maintain desired size and shape.