Too Late to Prune?

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I continue to get a lot of questions about when to prune or when is it too late to prune different types of trees and shrubs. I honestly don’t have these dates memorized, however, there are calendars I can refer to for that information.

I will share a few tips on what pruning can and probably should be done right now. On crepe myrtles, remove any dead, damaged or diseased branches, then remove the seed heads from last year’s flowers. If the hydrangeas have flower heads on them from last year, remove those. It’s a good idea when removing the flower heads to cut back to a live green bud to remove any dead wood.

Plants that have spring flowers such as azaleas, camellias, forsythia and spring flowering roses should be pruned after they have flowered. The only exception to that rule is fruit trees and grapevines. These should be pruned before flowering occurs. If the plant starts to drip from the cut, don’t panic. This means the plant is already starting to wake up and is pushing water from the roots up into the stems in preparation for spring growth. The plant won’t “bleed to death”, so don’t worry.