To Prune or Not to Prune?

Posted on: October 5, 2017

Pruning trees and shrubs is a really important part of keeping them healthy. Removing dead, loose, or infected branches and stems from your plants helps control unwanted pests and insects, encourages proper growth, and improves the safety of your property.

So when is the best time to prune in the Lawrence, KS area? Keeping in mind that light pruning can be done any time and that maintenance for individual species may vary, here are some pruning best practices:

  • Never prune in the fall. Fall is a wonderful time for doing clean ups around the yard, and with leaves falling off surrounding trees and shrubs you may be tempted to cut back the imperfections you see on your trees and shrubs. Don’t do it. Pruning stimulates new growth, and because fall is a time when plants are preparing to go dormant, this can weaken your plants and make them more susceptible to frost and winter damage.
  • Prune when things are actually dormant.  Winter is one of the best times to prune trees and shrubs that are not going to flower in the spring. If you have plants that flower mid- to late summer, pruning them in winter is best! A few examples of plants to prune in winter include boxwoods, oak trees, hostas, and burning bushes.
  • Cut back spring bloomers once their flowers fade. Trees and shrubs that bloom in early spring grow flower buds on wood formed the year before. Pruning early-spring bloomers in the fall will reduce the number of spring blooms dramatically, so prune them when their flowers are gone in the spring! A few examples of plants to prune after bloom include lilacs, redbuds, forsythia, and crabapples.

There are always exceptions to the pruning rule.

So we just said not to prune spring bloomers until after they’ve flowered, right? Well, that’s not necessarily true for roses, spirea, and butterfly bushes. For these, best practice would be to prune them before they bloom. So how do you know what to do with each individual plant? Our best answer is, it varies!

It’s important to remember that pruning guidelines vary based on the type of tree or shrub in question as well as local climates. You wouldn’t read this blog if it went into detail about every kind of tree or shrub and how to prune them.

Do your research. Ask for help!

If you have questions about how and when to prune your particular trees and shrubs, your best bet is to reach out to a professional ! Our team is full of plant lovers and horticulturalists, and we’re always happy to help answer your questions.

Want to take the hassle out of pruning your trees and shrubs and have someone do it for you? We can help with that too! Contact us today and let our team of professionals take care of your landscape maintenance.