Is NOW an Okay Time to Prune Flowering Shrubs?

Millie W. Davenport
Home & Garden Information Center

At this time of the year, the primary concern with pruning shrubs is the effect it can have on flowering. A good general rule to follow for spring flowering trees and shrubs (produce flowers before June 1st) is to wait until after the bloom period to prune. Spring blooming trees and shrubs form flower buds on growth from the previous year. To avoid interfering with flower bud formation it is recommended to prune spring bloomers within the 30-day period after they bloom. Summer blooming trees and shrubs (produce flowers after June 1st) produce flower buds on new spring growth, and pruning time does not affect flower development. The exception to this rule is the oakleaf hydrangea which blooms in the early summer but produces flower buds on last year’s growth, so prune it after it finishes blooming (see HGIC 1067, Hydrangea).

For more details on the proper timing, techniques and tools of pruning, see: HGIC 1053, Pruning Shrubs, HGIC 1173, Pruning Roses, and HGIC 1009, Crape Myrtle Pruning.


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