It’s normal to feel uneasy about pruning, because once you cut it, it’s GONE!  If you’re unsure about when/how to prune your plants or shrubs, it’s hard to commit to it at all.  

Pruning is vital to plant health because it not only tames unruly leaves and branches, but it cuts away the dead to make room for new growth.  So don’t worry, we came up with a few tips for you to make your pruning adventures a little less scary:

  • Tools-  You gotta have the right tools to get the job done.  A few we recommend are a pruning saw, loppers, a good quality hand pruner, and pruning shears.
  • Techniques-   Thinning, the most common technique, removes branches in dense situations, allowing the sun to get in and do its duty.  Shortening, which is trimming branch ends to stimulate new growth, helps increase blooming and gives shrubs a peppy new look.  Shearing helps shape a plant by cutting the outside layer of leaves, which is how topiaries get their shape.  Pinching, which is exactly how it sounds, is simply pulling off old blooms to make room for new ones to grow.
  • Times- Crape Myrtle – Late winter/early spring, just prune any branches that are crossing, rubbing, or growing inward.  Fruit Trees – Winter/late Spring, or after they’ve flowered.  Azalea – Prune after flowering ends.   
  • Fruit Trees-  Keep canopy thinned out with 3-5 main branches in center.  Avoid pruning in Spring.  Make sure to cut off dead branches.
  • Crape Myrtles-  Stay away from “crape murder”, which is cutting crapes off with a straight line.  Try to trim 1-2’ off of the tops of the trees and thin.   
  • Hydrangeas-   If a hydrangea blooms on old wood, you need to prune after flowering season (late summer or fall).  If hydrangea blooms on new wood, it can be pruned in late spring/early winter.                

Now that you’ve got some tips on pruning, you’re ready to rock!  Don’t be afraid to snip, snip, away:)

Happy planting!

— Digger Crew