One cardinal rule is this: after it’s done blooming, pruning can happen. So we start in late June by pruning the early spring flowering plants such as quince, fothergilla, lilac and forsythia. Later we’ll turn to rhododendrons, azaleas, weigelas, and the like. Evergreens such as yew, holly and boxwood are pruned in the summer once their bright green new growth hardens off. And we will also prune vegetative growth (meaning just leaves on a tall shooting sucker, no flower buds) from wisteria, rose and honeysuckle. Small flowering trees such as crabapple, dogwood and styrax can also be pruned in summer. We wait until August to prune birch and Japanese maple trees so that they do not bleed sap as they do in the spring.
Here at PBOG, we prefer a naturalistic style of pruning rather than shearing plants into balls. So you’ll see us out with our hand pruners, saws of all sizes, and loppers. This technique promotes openness so that air can circulate among the branches and leaves, leading to better overall plant health. There will be fewer hiding places for pests and diseases to gather.
If height needs to be reduced below a window, for example, we will work carefully to remove the tallest branches in a manner that will still promote natural form and bloom. Or we may recommend moving that particular shrub so that it can reach its full potential and suggest a more compact plant for the spot beneath the window.
Priscilla is also available for one-on-one garden coaching sessions where she’ll teach you how to prune! Please schedule your appointment here (firstname.lastname@example.org).