TribLIVE

| Business


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

How to to prune — or not

By The Washington Post
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.

To Prune:

• 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

Most-Read Stories

  1. Liberian families in Western Pa. fret over Ebola virus outbreak
  2. Steelers’ Blake prefers secondary job
  3. Greensburg Central Catholic graduate returns as staffer
  4. Rivals try to block Uber, Lyft in Pittsburgh
  5. Eastern Derry VFD closes
  6. More charges filed against Monessen marijuana growers
  7. Spill closes Mon/Fayette Expressway
  8. Rise in pickup truck sales a good sign for economy
  9. Fabregas: Physicians embrace fist bump over handshake in hospital
  10. Fix-a-flat a remedy in a pinch
  11. Wiz Khalifa gets fans fired up for new album in First Niagara show
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.