With pruning, most folks just scratch their heads and let their landscaper do it. Unfortunately, a lot of times your trees or shrubs get butchered or don’t bloom properly because they don’t know the how or when. With a little research and good advice, you can learn how to prune yourself and get some excellent results. Timing for pruning can be tricky, so here are a few tips to better your trees and shrubs and prepare them for the other season of color – Spring! Here’s an ABC list of plants that you can prune in the Spring – but remember, timing is important so if you have questions, please call a plant professional. At the bottom are a few handy links to encourage good pruning techniques.


ABC’s of Spring Pruning.

Apple – Prune in the winter or in the late spring right after they’re done blooming. Prune conservatively, remembering to maintain spacing between branches and keep an open form, cutting out dead growth and crossing branches. The same goes for other fruit trees.

Azalea – After spring flowering, prune evergreen Azaleas by mid-June at the latest. It’s okay to trim it back to the leaves or branch, but remember to use hand pruners only.

Beautyberry – These can be pruned in the late winter or early spring. The Beautyberry will flower on its new growth.

Butterfly Bush  – Same as Beautyberry. Remember to trim back deadwood before too much new growth forms.

Boxwood – These can be pruned in the spring and summer. They’re pretty forgiving, and can be easily formed into different shapes and hedges with shears.

Chastetree (Vitex) – Can be pruned in the late winter, and again in the summer after its first flowering. Remember, the Chastetree is twiggy so be regular about pruning and clean out its messy interior.

Camellia – Hand prune Camellias back to next leaf layer or bud in the late winter or early spring.

Crepe Myrtle – Don’t murder Myrtle! Crapes can be pruned in the spring, but for goodness sake, please don’t cut them down to stumps! For an excellent resource on how to properly prune Crepe Myrtles, click here: http://thedailysouth.southernliving.com/2009/02/24/what-concerns-p/

Forsythia – Prune it in the late spring right after it’s done blooming, otherwise it probably won’t flower next season. These can be trimmed back pretty vigorously.

Gardenia – The Gardenia should be pruned after the flowers start to yellow and begin to fall in the summer, and will likely re-bloom in a few months, depending on the variety. Avoid pruning in the fall. Remember: only hand prune!!

Hollies – These can be pruned pretty much any time except for the late summer.

Hydrangeas – These ones can be tricky. Here’s a handy link  to get you started on how to prune Hydrangeas:

‘Knockout’ Rose –  Prune these in the winter, spring and summer. In winter and spring, you can prune it back to its graft union. Remove dead cane, and if you’ve got some time on your hands it never hurts to deadhead old flowers.

Loropetalum – Loro’s should be pruned in the late spring after they are done flowering. These can withstand fairly heavy pruning and shearing.