Whew…what a storm this week! Although the snow piles in my yard, I will still plan on pruning my garden ornamentals within the next few weeks. Early spring is prime time to do so. This year I guess I will be doing it in my snow versus garden boots! This springs pruning targets include my overgrown burning bush, trumpet vine and my tree form hydrangea.
I get many questions about when is the best time to prune ornamental trees and shrubbery. A good rule of thumb is considering when the tree or shrub blooms, and whether it blooms on old growth or new growth (as with some varieties of clematis and hydrangea) Generally it is safe to say, those that flower after midsummer are pruned hard in the spring. While those that bloom in winter, spring or early summer are pruned soon after flowering. Early spring, our landscape ornamentals are still in their winter dormancy phase. Choosing to prune this time of year is actually healthier for many ornamentals. And if you are pruning hard to reshape or resize your plant, early spring, before leaf out allows you to examine the skeletal framework of the plant more carefully. This visual makes it much easier to resize and shape. Pruning is a healthy practice for shrubs and trees. You will often discover the plant is more robust the season after you take the time to prune.
Here is my list of Early Spring Tree/Shrub Pruning:
Fruit bearing: apple, cherry, peach, plum
Hydrangea: tree form panicle, lop off @ the base of the spent bloom heads
Trumpet vine: prune severely to the trunk base
Spirea: this is a great time to resize
Euonymous: all varieties, especially burning bush
Yews and privets
Make sure before you begin this task, your tools are clean and sharp. Never approach this task with dulled, rusted tools. And the question always comes up: How much can I safely prune? My rule of thumb for resizing/shaping is to never remove more than 1/3 of the plant. This will reduce stress. If you have let your plants go wild for several years…it will take several pruning attempts over time to get them into the size or shape you desire. “Patience grasshopper”!
Looking to up your gardening game this season? The Garden Goddess is planning a day long regional gardening event at Longfellows Hotel and Conference Center Saturday May 6th, featuring regional-friendly gardening workshops, culinary demonstrations, garden networking and garden marketplace all in the beautiful Longfellows setting. Get your garden game off to the right start this year! Click on the link for more information: http://gardengoddesssenseandsustainability.com/dig-into-gardening-2017.html