The Q&A Archives: Pruning Spiraea and Dogwood

Question: We have several Frobelli Spiraea and varigated dogwood. What is the proper time of year to prune and how much can be cut away?

Answer: Dogwood pruning should be kept to an absolute minimum. Pruning can result in problems with cankers, so if significantly misdirected branches or broken branches necessitate removal, do so with sharp pruners, and dip the blades in rubbing alcohol between cuts. Don't attempt to make shaping cuts. Early spring is the best time to prune dogwood.

Spirea are pruned according to their form and time they bloom. Prune spring-flowering spirea when they finish bloom. Prune summer-bloomers in late winter or very early spring. Shrubby types do best with limited pruning. With the more open, loose types remove old wood that has already produced flowers by cutting it back to the ground.

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