Look! It’s a new branch. A young bud. A bush nearly bursting with blossoms. Who wouldn’t want to sit back, and let the growing take place? Smart gardeners, that’s who. They know that – especially in spring – all plants need routine maintenance, otherwise known as pruning.
Whether growing flowers, bushes or trees, show a little TLC and you’ll be repaid with interest. A pruned plant gets better light in its center, for a stronger “structure.” Airflow is restored, and so is weight balance. Pruning prevents overcrowding. And branches are less likely to droop to the ground, where insects climb aboard. Besides, how can a plant flourish if parts of it are dead, damaged or diseased?
When Depends on What – and Where
Over time and almost from instinct, you will learn how to “read the need” for pruning your plants. Gardeners whose plants endure winter know that spring is the time to reward them with a “reset” – removing dead, diseased or damaged leaves and branches from the plant itself, and clearing the ground below it.
Flowering vines in Maine and poolside palms in Miami attest to the wide range of pruning guidelines. Here are a few general rules of thumb, for your green thumb:
- Trees and shrubs that flower in the summer and fall – like roses and hydrangea – should be pruned while dormant, in late winter or early spring.
- Shape and trim flowering shrubs like lilacs and forsythia early in the summer, after they flower. After mid-summer, pruning will destroy next season’s blooms.
- Evergreen shrubs like boxwood or juniper can be thinned and/or shaped in early summer, just as growth begins.
- Perennials are loosely defined as showy flowers that return each year, like daisies. Most need to be cut back completely, nearly to ground level, in fall.
- Ornamental grasses should be cut right down to the ground in early spring. Then watch them take off!
Deadheading Is Alive and Well
One of the pleasures of “walking the yard” during the growing season is to show your flowers some love by deadheading – snapping the stem just below the flower, and above the first set of healthy leaves. Make room for new blooms, using snippers or your fingers, and you’ll be treated to a second wave of blooms. Such a big reward for a little effort.
Pruning + Precipitation = Perennial Pride
Whether you prune your plants to perfection, or just putter periodically, there’s one ingredient for a beautiful garden that can’t be denied: precipitation. It’s a good thing, the perfect garden hose by Apex has that covered.