Pruning Trees and Shrubs

From Dogwood to Roses; Trim for Health and Vigor

Knowing when and how to prune trees and shrubs is often confusing for many gardeners. The following should help you get going.

Plant When How to prune Tools to use
AZALEA Late Winter/Early Spring To reinvigorate old plants, fertilize well.
Remove damaged or overgrown branches.
Bypass and anvil pruners, loppers
Late Spring / Early Summer After blooming, prune for shape. Bypass and anvil pruners, loppers
BARBERRY Late Winter/Early Spring After flowering, restore shape by pruning lightly. Bypass pruner, loppers
DEUTZIA Late Spring / Early Summer Once blooming has stopped, prune lightly to remove a older branches and dead twigs Bypass and anvil pruners
DOGWOOD Late Spring / Early Summer Flowering: After flowering, remove dead wood only.
Other: Prune dead wood only to preserve natural beauty.
Bypass and anvil pruners, loppers
FIR Late Fall/Winter Use sharp tools to remove diseased or injured branches during very cold weather only. Loppers, pole tree trimmer, pruning saw
FORSYTHIA Late Spring / Early Summer After flowering, remove a few older branches. For old, neglected plants, cut back entire plant to about one foot, leave three to five canes. (Plant may be poisonous). Bypass and anvil pruners
HOLLY Summer Prune any time of the year to restore shape. Anvil pruner, loppers
HONEYSUCKLE Late Spring / Early Summer Cut some of the oldest wood to the ground every four to five years. Pinch shoots to encourage branching. (Plant may be poisonous). Bypass and anvil pruners
Late Fall / Winter Remove gnarled and diseased old wood. (Plant can be poisonous). Bypass and anvil pruners
HYDRANGEA Late Winter/Early Spring Prune Hills-of-Snow variety back to the ground. For other varieties, remove weak and dead growth and cut flowering stems back to two buds. Bypass and anvil pruners, loppers
LILAC Late Spring/Early Summer Prune after blooming is completed. Remove all spent blooms to encourage next year´s growth. If you prune too late, you may remove next year´s blossoms. Bypass and anvil pruners, loppers
Maple, Japanese Late Fall/Winter When pruned, it bleeds. Prune or pinch back in fall or winter to minimize sap loss and to see shape of tree. Leaf prune in summer of alternate years to encourage smaller leaf development. Japanese pruners for fine work, bypass pruners, pruning saw
MOCK ORANGE Late Fall / Winter Remove a few of the oldest canes every three to four years. Anvil pruner, loppers, pole tree trimmer
MOUNTAIN LAUREL Late Spring / Early Summer Prune lightly. Pinch off clusters of spent blossoms. Remove a few old branches at the ground to induce new growth from roots. Bypass pruner, loppers
MULBERRY When dormant from November to February, or during the summer Prune lightly to remove dead wood. Some experts advocate pruning in the summer when thinning for ambient light. Weeps sap. Loppers, bow saw, pruning saw
PEONY Late Fall / Winter (Herbaceous) Cut to the ground as leaves mature and look dry. Bypass pruner
PINE/SPRUCE Late Spring / Early Summer Cut back candles on side of branches of young trees to one half or less after needles have expanded but before hardening. Anvil pruner, loppers, bow saw, pruning saw
PRIVET Late Spring / Early Summer In April, cut back hard to rejuvenate old plants. (Plant may be poisonous). Anvil pruner, hedge shear, loppers
Summer Starting in June, trim to shape three times at six week intervals. (Plant can be poisonous). Anvil pruner, hedge shear, loppers
RHODODENDRON Late Spring / Early Summer Same as Mountain Laurel. Bypass and anvil pruners, loppers
ROSES
More info on roses
Late Winter/Early Spring (Hybrid, Tea and Perpetual) After frosts, cut away dead and weak growth and shorten remaining canes to four or five buds. Bypass pruner, loppers
Late Spring / Early Summer (Climbing) After flowering, prune half of the old growth at the ground. Keep new shoots for the next year´s flowers. Bypass pruner, loppers
Summer Prune lightly to shorten shoots only. Remove faded flowers (except for species roses). Bypass pruner, loppers
Late Fall/Winter (Tea and Hybrid) Lightly prune to prevent wind whipping and storm damage. Bypass pruner, loppers
SNOWBERRY Late Winter/Early Spring Cut out old twiggy canes. Cut back last season´s growth of remaining parts to three buds. Bypass and anvil pruners
YEW Summer Trim to maintain shape. (Plant can be poisonous). Anvil pruner, hedge shear, loppers, pruning saw
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