• GardenBite@Facebook • GardenBite@Twitter

Pruning shrubs and small trees

Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show:  Pruning shrubs and small trees

Timing is everything! Do NOT prune any spring blooming shrubs now, however, it IS a good time to prune any summer or fall flowering shrubs. First rule of pruning – THINK TWICE, PRUNE SECOND

Dogwood ‘Redosier’

Dogwoods, Alpine Currants, Viburnums and Honeysuckle, to name a few, can benefit from pruning right now. Maintenance pruning is taking out the dead and diseased wood which you can easily see since there are no leaves. pruning treePrune out any branches that are crossed inside the shrub or tree and also those that rub against each other. These can create wounds in the branches and, possibly, attract pests or disease.  Notice in the picture below how the branch being cut is crossing over others?

pruning cross branch

Clean your pruners after each cut by wiping with rubbing alcohol, which is less corrosive than bleach, or using Lysol or even Dawn dishwashing liquid. Mix a few drops in a gallon of water.

Prune above a healthy bud, where a branch joins another branch or where a branch joins the trunk. Come out about 1/4 of an inch from the stem and cut at the same angle as the branch. No need for wound dressing, the plants will scar up on their own without our help.

pruning diagram

The idea of maintenance pruning is to clean out the dead/diseased stuff and to open up the shrub or tree to more air circulation and light. Again, it’s important for you to think carefully about pruning. Once that cut’s made, there’s no turning back so… THINK TWICE, PRUNE SECOND

As I mentioned in my show, there are several types of pruning depending on what results you’re looking for. This article “Pruning Trees and Shrubs” by the University of Minnesota Extension is a comprehensive look at pruning and worth a read through.  I highly recommend it.

Tags: , , ,

Leave a Reply