To Prune or Not to Prune, That is the Question…

So, this has been a post I have been milling about for some time. I really don’t know much about pruning myself, and I wanted to give this long, thought out post on Pruning 101. Well, I don’t have to, so I am not going to. After consulting with family, friends, co-workers and researching the heck out of the subject, I finally have an understanding on what pruning really is. It’s not that hard, it was the fear of the whole darn idea that was clouding up common sense.

I am going to make it as plain and simple and clear as possible, I promise.

Wait to prune this pretty tree in the fall!
Wait to prune this pretty tree in the fall!

First of all, what is pruning?

Pruning is when one decides to clear out or remove undesirable, unruly branches from a tree or shrub. Or, if the tree/shrub is overgrown and needs a “haircut”, so to speak.

  • Most trees and shrubs get pruned in the early winter or late spring. This is when you can actually see the shape of said tree/shrub and you can make it look nice and pretty.
  • All trees/shrubs that bloom in the spring get pruned in the fall. For example, if you start pruning your lilac bush as soon as the snow melts, then you aren’t going to get any blooms on it because you will have cut off all the new growth. *Wait until it is done blossoming before you start trimming it.*

Be careful not to cut too much back on certain trees/shrubs. It may never come back to the way you want it. Pruning is pretty much trial and error. I have pruned a few things myself, and some things have managed to be just fine, while I lost a few things. And sometimes I wonder if it wasn’t the winter from the previous year that didn’t allow them to come back. Nevertheless, just be cautious and wise when pruning. Just be common sensical and keep the two above bullet points in mind when you decide to go ahead and starting whacking the heck out of your bushes!

Now, the only exception to all of this that I have stated above is winter damage. If you have damage to your spring bushes/trees from this brutal winter that we Northeasterners have endured this year, then, by all means, remove the damage and just wait to see your plants bounce back, even if it takes until the next growing season.

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