Did you just buy a new home with a beautiful landscape? Did you buy one years ago, but never knew how to maintain it? If you are like many homeowners, sometimes it can be daunting to take over the first landscape that you have to maintain yourself, and what could be more daunting than trying to keep track of what to prune and when? With the help of the internet along with a little practical experience, we wanted to break it down a little farther to help you know what to prune and when, starting of course with fall!
First we will break down the different types of plants:
Fruit Bearing: any tree or shrub that bears fruit
Deciduous: any perennial plant, tree, or shrub that loses all of its foliage for part of the year
Evergreen: any tree, shrub, or plant that bears foliage throughout the year
Fall and Winter Pruning
Berry Bushes: Berry bushes are best pruned in late fall or early winter. Regular pruning to maintain shape can be done throughout the season, but is best done immediately after harvesting to minimize production loss.
Deciduous Trees: Deciduous trees also seldom need pruning. If pruning is needed to maintain shape, it should be done in mid to late winter while the tree is dormant.
Evergreen Shrubs: Evergreen shrubs don’t flower, but some produce cones. Typically, it’s best to prune evergreen shrubs between late winter and early spring-after they produce cones.
Spring and Summer Pruning
Fruit Trees: Fruit trees should always be pruned before buds start to swell, so usually in late winter or early spring. To maintain shape and encourage air circulation within the canopy, remove any branches growing inward or those growing vertically.
Evergreen Trees: Evergreen trees seldom need pruning. If you prune, wait until after the tree has completed substantial new growth, or you may end up having to prune it again-usually late spring or early summer.
Deciduous Shrubs: Let the flowers guide you. It’s best to prune shrubs back immediately after they flower (usually late spring or summer).
Rosebushes: Older shoots and those turned inward should be pruned by late winter-early spring at the latest. Cut remaining 4 to 8 canes to a length of 12 to 24 inches. Ideally, cuts should be made within an inch above a bud or strong shoot.
Practical Pruning Tips
Choose high quality shears, you will get the best cuts and the most out of your money. You don’t want to be in the middle of pruning, and your shears suddenly fall apart! You also want something that can be effectively taken apart and then put back together. The reason being, you will want to be able to sharpen it or replace parts as necessary.
Think First! Plan out how you want to prune, and what you want the overall shape to be.
Leave the collar (Main trunk) alone! The base is where many protective chemicals are stored, and also serves as a protector for the plant keeping it free from diseases. Don’t prune too close, as you will open up the plant to diseases.
Be prepared for some mistakes. Especially if it is your first go around, you may prune too much. Be aware that it may take some time before the plant is able to come back from that.
If you are concerned about the hardiness of a plant, it’s best to wait until the end of winter to prune it. Intact branches will trap air over winter, creating a microclimate to help protect the plant.
If you are unsure and want to consult the professionals, head to your local nursery! Often times, they will be able to lead you in the right direction!