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).
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This information is supplied with the understanding that no discrimination is intended and no endorsement by the Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service is implied. All recommendations are for South Carolina conditions and may not apply to other areas. Use pesticides only according to the directions on the label. All recommendations for pesticide use are for South Carolina only and were legal at the time of publication, but the status of registration and use patterns are subject to change by action of state and federal regulatory agencies. Follow all directions, precautions and restrictions that are listed.