When To Prune Outdoor Plants

Pruning is one of the key elements in keeping a landscape healthy and attractive. Although pruning plants can be a physically taxing activity, mastering this vital skill requires careful planning and mental preparation. The following advice is intended to assist you in making plans and preparations for tending to and keeping your trees and shrubs so they can give you years of usefulness and beauty. Let’s start with the fundamentals:

Describe pruning. For horticultural and landscape purposes, pruning is the practice of removing particular plant elements (branches, buds, spent flowers, etc.) carefully.

Why Trim Your Plants? Understanding why you are pruning and your goals is more crucial than knowing when or how to do it. Pruning can be done for a variety of purposes, including but not restricted to:

  • to keep plants healthy
  • Always remove any wood that is dead, dying, ill, or damaged.
  • Branch out rubbing or crossing ones.
  • Maintain a healthy airflow inside the plant’s framework.
  • Take out undesirable shoots.
  • bypass snippers
  • regulate size
  • accentuate a decorative element (flowers, fruit, etc.)
  • Keep your desired form.

When to Prune? The repercussions of improper plant pruning might produce very unfavorable outcomes. The type of plant, the desired result, and the degree of pruning required will all influence the best time to prune. Pruning can be done at any time of the year to remove harmed, dead, or diseased components.

Most trees and shrubs should be pruned in late winter or early spring before the start of new growth, especially those that flower on the new growth of the current season. (March-April).

To enhance the blossoming the following year, plants that bloom on wood from the previous season, such as ornamental fruit trees, rhododendrons, and lilacs, should be pruned right away.

The graph below gives a general timeline for when to prune. Please ask one of our sales representatives for more details. We are always willing to assist.

Pruning plants before bud break in the spring is advised for summer flowering shrubs, such as butterfly bushes, crape myrtles, roses, spirea, privet, and some hydrangea, from February to April.

When ought to plants be pruned?

In order to improve fruitfulness and growth, pruning is defined as “trimming (a tree, shrub, or bush) by cutting away dead or excessive branches or stems.”

Pruning plants is a task that everyone can perform occasionally, regardless of how experienced they are with plant care or if they are in charge of an indoor jungle. It benefits your plants in a number of ways, including preventing pests and disease, preventing your plants from becoming overly sparse, and allowing your plants to maintain a form and size appropriate for indoor areas. This journal entry will go over how to correctly trim and shape your plants, why it’s crucial, and several methods you can use for both vines and trees to promote deliberate development.

The Basics

Simple gardening shears or scissors and a basic understanding of how plants function are all that are needed to successfully trim and shape your houseplants.

In most circumstances, pruning and removing leaves, stems, and branches doesn’t hurt your plant. In fact, doing this occasionally is beneficial. During their active growing seasons of spring and summer, plants will benefit most from a good trimming. Both vines and trees can benefit from trimming to promote fresh, fuller growth along the plants as well as to remove any dead or yellowing portions. Pruning is one of the finest ways to get control over how your plant is growing, whether you want to maintain a given size, promote branching, or attain a certain aesthetic.

The majority of indoor plants can be cut and pruned, but others, like most palms and tree ferns, require special care. It is possible to remove dead fronds and leaves, but since these plants don’t branch, cutting off the top growth zones will basically destroy the plant.

Pulling Away Yellow or Brown Leaves

The easiest approach to help prevent any unwanted plant pests from settling on your plant is to trim or pluck away any yellowing or dead leaves. These pests are more attracted to decaying or dead leaves than healthy ones, and they are more likely to develop on a suffering plant.

A smart technique to keep your plant looking its best is to remove yellowing or dead leaves. When a leaf begins to yellow, wait until it has turned completely yellow before removing it. A leaf that is about to fall off completely loses all of its chlorophyll (the molecules that give the leaf its green color), and the plant absorbs any nutrients that are still present in the yellowing leaf. There should be no resistance encountered when removing the leaf. You can also remove any leaves that have grown crispy and brown off a stem or branch without hurting your plant.

Seasonal vs. Daily Pruning

When it comes to trimming and pruning indoor plants, some tasks should be completed at specific times of the year. Any significant trimming should ideally be done in the spring or summer while your plants are actively growing and receiving more sunshine. The best time to prune huge amounts of leaves, branches, or anything else that will significantly reduce the size of your plant is now. Generally speaking, you don’t want to remove more than 1/4 of the plant’s total foliage. During the fall and winter, postpone any heavy pruning because your plants won’t be growing as quickly and it may take them longer to put forth new growth or recover from being overpruned. There are, however, some jobs that may be completed quickly at any time of the year. To keep your plants looking healthy throughout the year, remove any yellowing or browning leaves, a few extra stems or vines, or other tiny objects as needed.

Pruning Trees

Indoor trees should occasionally be pruned to help maintain their shape and growth, just like trees that are outdoors. Similarly, it’s a good idea to shape and prune them if they are growing too large for your location. A effective approach to thin out trees is to prune them. This not only enhances its aesthetic appeal but also promotes airflow between the leaves and branches, making the plant overall healthier.

Indoor trees like Dracaenas and Ficus have a tendency to grow vertically, but by pruning the topmost point of development, you can encourage branching. By doing this, you’ll make your plant branch out from the edges of the cut rather than allowing it to grow upward as usual. You can control where and how your plant develops by branching out of this concept, allowing you to shape your tree’s growth to fit your indoor environment.

Pruning Vines

Similar to trees, vines can benefit from routine pruning to prevent them from growing too long and to provide a fuller appearance. Regular pruning is very beneficial for some types of philodendrons and vines like Pothos. In addition to removing dead or yellow leaves, pruning may make most vines appear bushier and fuller. To do this, prune just below a leaf or, every so often, pinch off new growth with your fingers to encourage your plant to grow new vining stems from an old one. This keeps your plant looking full and compact rather than having sparse, solitary vines trailing down a planter.

Propagating with Cuttings

Branches, vines, and stems that you have chopped off from your plants may leave you unsure of what to do with them. You may typically propagate your plant by inserting all of its pieces straight into the ground or water. Most branches and plant cuttings, including those from Sansevieria, ZZ plants, Hoyas, and other species, root easily. You should trim a vine like a Pothos, Philodendron, or Monstera just below a node or aerial root. If you bury this piece in soil or water, water or soil roots will develop and support the cutting as it grows.

With all of this knowledge, perhaps you are well-equipped to prune and trim your plants to maintain their appearance of health and happiness (as well as their actual health and happiness!). Feel free to leave a remark below or stop by one of our stores if you have any questions.

When To Cut Back

Perennial plants’ leaves will start to wither as soon as the first mild frosts start to fall on them in the middle to late fall. When this happens, it is the perfect moment to start pruning plants.

The process can start before the entire plant has turned brown or withered. In fact, the entire plant can be cut back once the flowering cycle is finished and the blossoms have gone.

How To Cut Back Perennials

Almost all perennial plants can be pruned back in the same way. Start by trimming the plant to a height of 3 to 5 inches above the earth. Trim off all of the stems and foliage with a good set of pruners or hedge trimmers.

The “sharp” aspect is crucial since, in the fall, many plant leaves and stems can be stringy and difficult to cut if your blades are dull. For this job, hedge trimming shears function incredibly well since they can make big, rapid cuts. (OARA Garden Hedge Shears is the product link.)

There are various benefits to leaving the plant slightly above the ground. First, the plant can get some insulation from the surviving foliage over the winter.

However, keeping the plants above ground also makes it easier for a gardener to identify the locations of perennials. It could be challenging to identify where to put plants and mulch now and in the spring if you cut them all the way to the ground.

Speaking of planting more plants, now is an excellent time to divide any that have outgrown their space. Simply plant the extra seedlings after dividing them to help prepare the beds for the following year. (See How to Quickly Divide Perennials to Generate Free Additional Plants!)

What To Do With The Clippings

The plant matter that is being cut back is ideal for the compost pile as long as it is disease-free. To hasten decomposition, it is a good idea to shred everything before putting it to your pile.

If you don’t have access to a chipper or shredder, just cut up the foliage with your lawnmower before adding it to the pile.

Some Perennials To Not Cut Back

Leaving certain perennials to winter with their spring and summer growth intact is optimal. While some plants’ leaves and wasted bloom heads shield and provide food for wildlife throughout the chilly, desolate winter months, other plants’ development is required for protection.

When it comes to protecting birds and other small creatures throughout the winter, ornamental grasses top the list. For animals, leaving them up is preferable to cutting them back in the fall.

They also do a superb job of bringing interest to the frequently barren winter landscape.

Coneflower, black-eyed susan, and shasta daisy stems and seed heads are frequently left in gardens all winter long to provide food for foraging birds.

And Don’t Cut Back Those Mums!

Always try to preserve as much of the leaves as possible when dealing with garden mums. The plants require the extra foliage to help shield them from the wrath of winter due to their late fall flowering.

Here’s to pruning your landscape’s perennials and healthy, profusely blooming plants the next year!

Can I prune anything in February?

Between February and March, many deciduous shrubs with summer blooms can be clipped; typically, they are plants that bloom on the growth of the current year. Buddleja davidii, Ceratostigma, Hydrangea paniculata, Lavatera, Leycesteria, Perovskia, hardy fuchsias, and deciduous Ceanothus are a few shrubs that require routine pruning.

Late winter is in what month?

Four to six weeks of late winter pass before the spring thaw. Depending on your climate, this may occur at any time between January and May. Count backwards from your typical last frost date.

When pruning, where do you make cuts?

Recognize where to cut. Always cut back vegetation to the soil line or to a growing point (branch or bud). NEVER cut off a stem or branch. NEVER “rejuvenate growth” by topping a tree. The plant’s natural shape is destroyed, and it is far more vulnerable to disease, insect pests, and storm damage as a result.

When pruning, where do you cut the plants?

An awareness of the plant’s growth pattern is necessary for effective pruning. Plants develop from the tip down, which means that a branch or stem’s dominant bud is where new growth first appears.

Snip off the dominant buds on a few stems, spacing the cuts to provide a variety of growth, to prune a plant to promote bushy new growth. Trim some branches down to their root, some back by half, and still others completely. In this manner, the random growth pattern will fill up the plant when it produces new leaves.

Simply removing any dead blooms is what is meant by the pruning technique known as “deadheading.” When a plant blooms, it diverts energy away from new development and onto its blossoms. A flower still uses energy from the plant even when it is fading. Deadheading is frequently required to extend the flowering season and promote healthy development.

Maintaining cleanliness is crucial during pruning. A plant’s tissue might become infected through any wound. Therefore, maintain your pruning tools clean and sterile by wiping them off after each use with a mild bleach and water solution.

A cup of water can be used to root most houseplant cuttings before they are planted to create new houseplants. Even better, succulent clippings can be multiplied by putting them straight in a pot of damp soil. You should have fresh plants developing after a few weeks.

Which plants need to be pruned?

This spring, prune these 6 plants.

  • Shrubs with Spring Flowers but No Fruit. After their blossoms have faded, ornamental flowering shrubs including rhododendrons, lilacs, forsythias, and viburnums should be clipped.
  • nascent fruit trees
  • Hedging and topiary.
  • Conifers.
  • Woody perennial plants.
  • Dead and diseased growth

In the winter, should I prune my plants?

Can you prune in the winter? The optimal time to prune the majority of deciduous trees and shrubs is actually late winter or early spring, but not all! Get some general pruning advice for the season and a list of which trees and shrubs to prune by visiting our website.

Why Prune in Late Winter or Early Spring?

The majority of plants in temperate regions hibernate during the winter. They have stopped growing actively and have hunkered down for the winter at this time of year. Due to this dormancy, the greatest seasons to alter the forms of many trees and shrubs are often late winter and early spring. Why?

  • It is simpler for a plant to recuperate from pruning when it is dormant, which is crucial for the plant to produce flowers the following year.
  • Practically speaking, because the foliage is gone in the winter, it is much simpler to discern the true shape of deciduous plants.

When to Prune Flowering Shrubs

When your shrubs flower is a key factor in determining when to prune. After blooming in late spring or summer, plants that bloom in the spring, like azaleas, are trimmed. Butterfly bush and other summer-flowering shrubs can be pruned in the winter or early spring. Why? Whether flowers bloom on “old wood” or “new wood” has an impact on this.

  • Prune bushes that generate their bloom buds on in the late winter and early spring “fresh wood (i.e., growth that will occur in the coming spring). Abelia, beautyberry, butterfly bush, smooth and panicle hydrangeas, potentilla, roses, rose of Sharon, dogwoods, Japanese spirea, St. John’s wort, and summersweet are a few examples.
  • Wait until late spring or early summer (afterflowers fade) to cut shrubs that bloom on “old wood (i.e., growth from the previous year) (i.e., growth from the previous year). Examples include the following: azaleas, beautybushes, bridalwreath spireas, spring-blooming clematis, cotoneasters, deutzias, enkianthus, flowering almonds, forsythias, mophead hydrangeas, lilacs, mock oranges, mountain laurels, ninebarks, oakleaf hydrangeas, pieris, rhododendron You’ll lose the buds that would have opened in spring if you trim them too soon. Spring-blooming bushes should be pruned as soon as the spring blossoms start to fade.

When to Prune Trees and Evergreens

  • Yew, holly, and boxwoods should all be pruned together with spruce and fir trees in the late winter or early spring when they are still dormant and before new growth starts. Between early June and early July, pines are clipped.
  • In the late winter or early spring, prune shade trees like oak, sweetgum, maple, katsura, and hornbeam.
  • Pruning spring-blooming trees like dogwood, redbud, cherry, pear, and magnolia should be postponed until after their flowers. More details can be found here.

Without climbing the tree, it can often be difficult to identify if there are dead branches higher up. It can be a good idea to employ a tree trimmer to remove any dead trees once every three years for this reason. Look at tree pruners with extended reach poles so you can maintain your own feet securely on the ground when pruning lesser trees.

Trees and Shrubs to Prune in Late Winter or Early Spring

Trim trees sparingly. Keep the tree open with the main branches spaced widely. Avoid crotches with a pronounced V shape.

By removing a few of the earliest stems at ground level, you can keep the plant’s beautiful arching shape. If you desire bushier growth in the spring, pinch growing shoots.

Trim stems that protrude out of the bush to improve its shape before the season’s growth begins. Pinch growing shoot tips where bushier growth is desired during the growing season.

Pruning for evergreen species mostly involves removing weak, twig-like, dead, or damaged branches.

Cut off wood that has been affected by winter or cut the plant down to the ground wherever it is not completely winter-hardy. Where this plant is cold-hardy, little pruning is required.

Cut all stems to the ground if you want smooth hydrangea. Cut stems with faded flowers still connected back to full flower buds for bigleaf or oakleaf hydrangea.

In the late winter, some hydrangea are NOT trimmed. See our article on pruning different hydrangea kinds to learn how to prevent removing future bloom buds.

Cut branches and canes to four or five buds on branches and feeble growth on canes. For additional details, see our article on rose trimming.

Unless you plant it for its purple foliage instead of its flowers, needs minimal maintenance. In this instance, make strong pruning cuts to encourage healthy spring development.

General Cold-Weather Pruning Tips

  • Pick a mild, dry day to prune. This is not only more comfortable for you, but it also protects the plants from cold damage and the spread of waterborne plant diseases.
  • Never prune too early in the winter since incisions can dry out if it gets too cold.
  • When pruning, remove all dead and diseased branches first, particularly any that were brought on by the winter’s snow and ice.
  • All evergreen trees and bushes should have unwanted lower branches cut off in the late winter.
  • To improve airflow and light at the tree’s crown, prune smaller and overgrown branches.
  • Generally speaking, you want to keep the branches that help the tree grow or preserve its structure.
  • Branch cutting should be done at the node, which is where one branch or twig joins another.