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When the weather warms and you spend more time outside, it may feel like time to trim, prune, and give your shrubs some attention. Before you pick up those shears and go wild, do yourself and the shrub a favor and take time to carefully consider what you are doing. This may not be the right time to prune or trim shrubs.


Keep it simple and think before you prune:

  • Look over your shrub for spots where branches are rubbing together; removing these will keep your shrub healthier.
  • Water sprouts that shoot-up from the trunk should be removed and trimmed. Do so carefully, without damaging the other branches.
  • Suckers grow up from the roots of your shrub. These should be cut as they can take-away from your shrub and compromise hardiness.
  • Lopping your hedges and shrubs is a common practice, but resist doing this to your own plants! This is when spring fever strikes and compels homeowners to drastically trim their shrubs by cutting from the top. Take time and make sure to check each branch before cutting, to see where it grows, if it touches anything, and to evaluate its health before choosing to lop-it-off.


Keeping your shrubs trimmed and controlled isn’t difficult, though it is important to prune at the right time of year. When should you prune your shrubs? The answer varies depending on what you have in your yard and garden:


Early-flowering shrubs.

Spring flowering shrubs should be pruned after blooming, usually late summer or fall. Pinch the vegetation first, to gently remove new growth, and then work on weeding out the spread and shape of your shrub.

Some shrubs that should be pruned after they bloom include:

  • Forsythia.
  • Lilac.
  • Dogwood.
  •  Johns Wort.
  • Viburnum.


Late-flowering shrubs.

If your shrub flowers in the summer, prune before spring growth. After pinching the new vegetation, cut branches back slightly to shorten the plant. Thin-out your shrub by moving inward and cutting a few select branches down to the trunk.

Some shrubbery that you should prune before flowering are:

  • Beauty berry.
  • Roses.
  • Crepe Myrtle.
  • Angel Trumpet.
  • Bottlebrush.
  • Abelia.


Year-round conifers.

The rule of thumb for when you prune conifers is to wait until late summer or late winter, when the plant is dormant. These are hardy plants but they don’t respond well to being over-pruned. Be wary and only trim to shape, control, and repair your shrub, such as when it is damaged or sick. Some common conifers include junipers, dwarf pines, and cypress.


Keep your shrubs looking and blooming their best with routine pruning. Are you feeling worried about pruning your own shrubs? Talk to Natural Tendencies Landscape Professionals for service and suggestions that will keep your shrubs hardy and happy.