The Q&A Archives: Pruning

Question: Is there a general rule of thumb for pruning. Our yard is now about 3 seasons old with various bushes and trees. Most of the bushes I trim down in the fall, but this year with all the rain, everything looks so overgrown, yet I am afraid of shocking them by trimming them now.

Answer: Most deciduous shrubs are pruned according to when they bloom. Early spring bloomers are pruned immediately after they bloom because they bloom on old wood from the year before. Late season bloomers such as Rose of Sharon bloom on the current year's growth and so may be pruned in late winter or early spring before growth begins for the year. Most trees are best pruned by a professional -- preferably a professionally trained and certified arborist. This is important because the long term health of the tree can be influenced by its early training. You may be seeing the results of planting done without regard to mature sizes and spacing needs. If the problem is severe, you may want to think about transplanting or even removing some of the plants.

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