Question of the Week
browse by: questions
You know, we get toward the end of winter and people sort of get itching to get out and prune those trees, shrubs, and everything in the garden. And we always say don't prune them just because they're there. Know what you are pruning and prune them at the right time.
Some things don't need pruning at all. In fact, a natural looking hedge is really quite attractive. Sometimes you just trim them up a little bit but keep them in a natural look, and sometimes we actually hedge things and create that artificial boxed wall that some people enjoy as part of their landscape design.
The best time to prune almost everything is in late winter. If you do your pruning prior to the onset of new growth it's a little easier on the plants. Although, you can prune after new growth begins and in most cases, it won't hurt the plant.
You want to keep in mind with oaks—especially oaks that are not resistant to oak wilt but really all oaks—you want to prune those and paint the cuts immediately. You want to prune them in the coldest month of the year. That's about now—the best time of the year to do that when there's the least chance of oak wilt infection.
Things that are going to bloom in the spring: wait until after they bloom to prune them. That would be ornamentals like the flowering quince, for example. We wait until after it blooms to do the pruning or we're just cutting away the bloom buds. A rose that just blooms in the spring---a once bloomer like Lady Banks, we want to wait to prune that too. Otherwise, you can get out there and prune away this time of the year.
We like to wait until mid-February to prune ever-blooming roses.
We do want to prune fruit trees now, even though they bloom in the spring. They produce more blooms than we need. We're not growing them for their flowers, we're growing them for their fruit.