Pruning-When to do What?!

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by  Ludwig, Andrea Lorene

When to prune what can be tricky for homeowners.  How do you know which plants can or should be pruned, and when should that be done for each particular plant?  Contrary to popular belief, pruning should NOT be done in the fall.  I am not sure how that particular practice came to be, but let me give you some other options.  As a “rule of thumb” spring blooming woodies produce flowering buds on OLD WOOD and should be pruned immediately after their bloom allowing for continued growth during the season producing the following years bloom display.  Summer blooming woodies produce flowering buds on NEW WOOD and should be pruned in late winter before the initiation of new growth for the season.  Broadleaf evergreens, and deciduous non-flowering shrubs should also be pruned in late winter.  Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule and I encourage you to check out this UT publication Best Management Practices for Pruning Landscape Trees, Shrubs, and Ground Covers for more in depth information as well as proper pruning techniques!   (photo credit: Celeste Scott, University of Tennessee Extension)