November 17, 2012

This time of year I get a lot of questions about pruning/cutting back trees and shrubs, so I thought I’d write a brief post with my basic rules of thumb for pruning.
1. If the plant drops its leaves and/or dies back then you can go on and cut it back once it dies back. Be sure to wait for it to die back first, otherwise you may be pruning too soon and it could get more new growth before the first couple of hard freezes and that’s bad for the plant. It stresses it out.
2. If its an evergreen and just needs some shaping up, you ca do that anytime. If it needs some serious cutting back though you want to wait till its not actively growing (after the first few hard freezes) or right at the beginning of spring. Right when you start to see new growth on it, cut it back. These are the best bets for having it fill back out by summer time.
3. For blueberries, I like to wait until the very first bit of new growth shows up then prune it. You want three or four main stalks (leave them alone other than tiny stuff close to the ground) and you want to open up the center a bit for airflow.
4. For azaleas, if you want blooms the next year you must cut them back right after they bloom and be sure to cover them whenever it freezes, because the next years blooms come off of this years growth. Encore azaleas are a bit tricky because they bloom so much, but I’ve had luck pruning them right after their first or second bloom. I wouldn’t recommend cutting back after their fall blooms though because that’s getting a bit too close to the end of the year.
I hope you enjoyed this little informational on pruning. If you have any questions just leave a comment.

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