Nystrom's Nursery
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Pruning your flowering shrubs and trees

By Neil Peterson

Last Updated Apr 4, 2011 2:39:27 PM

Most homeowners are guilty of it: improper pruning. Whether its timing or the method, a person can seriously disrupt the beautiful show plants put on in spring and summer. So here are a few simple guidelines to avoid "broken blooms". First-if it flowers in the spring, it usually made flower buds last summer and fall. This is true with Lilacs, Forsythia, Viburnums, and a few types of Hydrangea. If you need to prune these plants, the appropriate time is immediately following flowers. This way the plant has ample time to regenerate buds. Secondly "topping" or shearing cane-forming shrubs is a no-no. If the bulk of the plant needs thinning, remove entire canes from the bottom. With Red-Twigged Dogwood, Forsythia, Arrowwood Viburnum, etc. this is the rule. Typically this will also encourage new healthy stems that bloom much heavier than the old wood. It's ok to shape the plant with some pruning, but remember-easy does it.