Pruning Guide


Help your plants get into shape!


Most shrubs, evergreens and trees require some pruning, whether it be to maintain its shape and size, improve the plant’s general appearance or remove dead or diseased branches.  Make sure you use sharp pruners or pruning shears as dull blades can cause damage to the plant.



In general, prune flowering shrubs after they bloom, prune trees in the winter, evergreens can be pruned throughout the season, and roses should be pruned in the spring or fall.  Broken and dead branches should be removed as soon as possible as these weakened areas allow easy entry for insects and diseases.


Pruning Shrubs

Remove older, thicker stems at ground level to rejuvenate the plant. This will allow light and air into the shrub to promote new growth.  For summer flowering shrubs, pruning can be done in early spring before growth begins.  For spring flowering shrubs wait until after they have flowered.  Shaping can be done later during the season after the shrub has flowered.


Pruning Evergreens

Start pruning for shape when plants are young. Formal plants, such as Boxwood, can be trimmed several times through the year. Junipers should be pruned before the growing season and larger evergreens, such as Pines, when new growth is vigorous. Candles (the long finger-like growth on Spruce and Pines) can be cut in half before they open up and mature in mid-June.


Pruning Roses

Hybrid Tea and Floribunda roses should be pruned in April after the buds start to grow, pruning just above a good, strong bud that points outward from the center of the plant. Climbers need to have dead wood removed each spring and side branches that have just flowered pruned back.  Only roses that have grown extremely tall, (3’ or more), should have their branches cut back to one yard in the fall to prevent ice damage.


Pruning Trees

Generally, trees can be pruned throughout the year to maintain their shape and remove dead and diseased branches. However, Birch, Honey-locust, Magnolia, Mulberry, Maple and Linden can only be pruned in mid-summer as they bleed profusely in spring. Trees such as Crab Apples and Lilacs should be pruned after they bloom. Large cuts on branches over 4” should be treated with pruning paint.