How to Prune Your Plants and Shrubs

How to Prune Your Plants and Shrubs

Pruned plants and shrubs look better and are healthier. Here's what you need to know about pruning plants and shrubs.

09 Feb, 2014

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How to Prune Your Plants and Shrubs

Pruned plants and shrubs look better and are healthier. They produce more and higher quality flowers and fruits. Although it may look like you're losing buds when you cut this season, you'll have more buds and blooms the following season. Pruning cuts stop growth in one direction and promote it in another in deciduous trees, so you can alter their direction of growth and create shapes.

Winter is a great time to prune because it promotes faster growth in spring, earlier growth in some trees, like deciduous ones, and it's easier to see the shapes of some trees because their foliage is gone.

Here are some tips on pruning your plants and shrubs

Start pruning when the weather reaches 40 degrees, usually in late February or early March, and choose a warm dry day.

Know your plants. Know which of your plants can be cut back before they bloom. Some roses, hydrangeas, and other flowering shrubs only use old wood to form new buds. Some hybrid hydrangeas, like the Endless Summer Hydrangea, can be pruned all year because their blossoms grow on old and new wood.

Use the right tools for the job. Have pocket knives, hedge shears, by-pass pruners, loppers, saws, pole pruners and saws. Hedge trimmers should be used sparingly to avoid the geometric landscape look (Meatball Look).

Step back and make sure your work looks balanced as you go.

Remove dead, diseased, cracked, nearly broken-off and otherwise damaged branches. Cut at the node, the place where twigs and branches meet on the tree.

Trim back overgrowth by the tree's crown to allow light and air to penetrate the tree.

Deciduous trees and evergreens: Deciduous trees' sap will be flowing freely at this time. Bleeding doesn't hurt the tree, but it can be messy for you, so it's okay to wait until later in the season to prune these trees.

We Prune and Plants and Shrubs

If you'd like your plants and shrubs professionally pruned, call Autumn Leaf Landscape at (631) 424-5544 or send us a message.


  1. Lowes' "Prune Trees and Shrubs"

  2. The Old Farmer's Almanac, "Winter Pruning Guide for Trees and Shrubs"

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