How to to prune — or not
By The Washington Post
Published: Sunday, March 3, 2013, 2:15 p.m.
If you are itching to get into the garden on a mild winter's day, you might want to grab a good pair of hand pruners and sharp loppers and go in search of a shrub to prune.
This is an adventure fraught with peril for the shrubs, but if you have a reasonable sense of what to do, you can improve the look, health and vigor of these garden stalwarts and control them.
How and when to prune a shrub depends on what it is. The golden rule: Better to do no pruning than to butcher the wrong shrub.
• Conservative pruning has health benefits for spring-blooming trees like dogwoods and redbuds, even if some of the April show will be lost.
• Crape myrtles can be pruned in the winter. Don't reduce them to stubs.
• Loppers offer a safe way into roses. Finish with pruners.
• Beautyberry bushes can be massive. Cut them back hard.
• Butterfly bushes also respond to a vigorous chop in winter.
Not to prune:
• Azaleas, pieris and viburnums set flower buds in summer. Pruning at this time would compromise their spring display.
• Leave hydrangeas alone except for light grooming in late April.
• Weeping Japanese maples require care and precision.
• Wait until after the forsythia blooms in mid-April, then prune old bushes hard.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Chat with Dejan Kovacevic: Dec. 13, 2013
- Kovacevic: A great day to appreciate No. 68
- Steelers safety Polamalu finds himself in tough position
- Orpik skates with injured teammates, not expected back soon
- Jeffrey Manning elected president judge in Allegheny County
- Co-defendant acquitted in Washington bar shooting deaths
- Mandela to be honored with memorial service Sunday in Pittsburgh
- Penn Township man accused of trying to torch home
- Woman held without bail in mailbox thefts in Shadyside, South Side
- Judge sends armed robbery case against Woodland Hills quarterback to juvenile court
- LeBeau wants to come back as Steelers defensive coordinator