WHAT TO PRUNE

Most shrubs, evergreens and trees require some pruning, whether it is to maintain its shape and size, or improve the plants general appearance.

HOW

Whatever you are pruning, always use a sharp set of pruners or pruning shears. Dull blades may cause harm with uneven cuts.

WHEN TO PRUNE

For major pruning jobs, early spring is the best time to prune, except for spring flowering shrubs and trees. These should be pruned after flowering. Shaping can be done later in the growing season. Broken and dead branches should be removed as soon as possible. Weakened areas allow easy entry for insects and disease.

EVERGREENS

Prune these for shape when they are very young. Formal plants, such as Boxwood, can be trimmed several times through the year. Junipers should be pruned before the growing season and larger evergreens such as pine, when new growth is vigorous.

DECIDUOUS SHRUBS

Early spring, remove a couple of older, thick stems at ground level to rejuvenate the plant. This will allow light and air into the centre of the plant to promote new growth. Shaping can be done later during the season after the shrub has bloomed. Some plant bloom on new wood and others on old wood (last years growth). Mock-orange, Serviceberry, Forsythia, Lilacs and Deutzia produce flowers on the previous year’s growth and should be pruned after flowering. Summer flowering shrubs such as Hydrangeas, Potentillas should be pruned in early spring before growth begins.

TREES

Trees can be pruned throughout the year to maintain their shape and to remove dead and diseased branches. Trees such as Red and Silver Maples, Birch should not be pruned in the spring as the sap will run so they should be pruned in mid-summer. Trees such as flowering crab apples and lilacs should be pruned when they are finished flowering. Fruit trees should be pruned in late winter, before they bloom. Large cuts (over 10 cm) should be treated with pruning paint.