Pruning shrubs is an important part of care and maintenance of your landscape. But pruning shrubs needs to be done at the proper time to maintain the beauty and appearance of the plant. Pruning at the wrong time may results in the loss of flowers for the year because all the buds were cut off. This is why it is important for you to choose the proper time and to understand where the flower buds form.
Flower buds form on either new wood or on old wood depending on plant species. In general if the shrub produces flowers on new wood then you want to cut the shrub during the winter months before the plant comes out of dormancy and begins to bloom. If the shrub flowers on old wood then pruning should be done right after flowering
so as to not cut off next years flower buds.
Shrubs That Bloom On New Wood
These shrubs should be pruned during December January And February
Hibiscus (Confederate rose)
Hibiscus (rose of Sharon, althea)
Hydrangea, fall blooming
Hypericum (St. JohnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Wort)
Summer Blooming Spirea
Shrubs That Bloom On Old Wood
These plants all bloom on last years wood so they should be pruned right after they bloom. Do not wait too long as they flower buds form in the summer and you risk the chance of cutting them off.
Hydrangea, summer blooming
Indian hawthorn (Raphiolepis)
Mountain laurel (Kalmia)
Spirea, spring blooming
Sweetshrub (Carolina allspice)
There are also shrubs that are grown for their foliage and the flowers if any are inconsequential. The general rule of thumb with these shrubs is to prune in the winter. A little snipping or grooming is okay during the growing season.
Harry LauderÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Walking Stick
Mahonia (Oregon Grapeholly)
These are some general guidelines for you to follow when taking care of the shrubs in your garden. If you have questions on specific plants you can always contact your local cooperative extension service and their Master Gardeners or a staff member will be happy to answer your questions or provide you with more information.