The Q&A Archives: Pruning

Question: When is the best time to prune evergreen shrubs ?
How much can you prune off at a time ?

Answer: There are both broadleaf and needled evergreens; broadleaf evergrees (boxwood, rhododendron, camellia, etc.) can be pruned immediately after flowering. If they do not flower, you can prune in spring or summer. You can prune them back by one-third without harm. Needled evergreens (pines, etc.) should be pruned in the spring just as the candles emerge. Simply snapping off 2/3 of the candles should control the size of these plants. If you prune needled evergreens back to bare wood, they will not produce new needles on the bare stems so plan to do an annual pruning to keep them full and dense. This way you won't have to cut back to bare wood to reduce their size and they should remain full and attractive.

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