Louisa Master Gardeners

Pruning FAQs


  1. When is the best time to prune for flowers on my shrubs?

  2. When should I prune my evergreens?

  3. When should I prune vines and ground cover?

  4. Web Resources for Pruning










1. When is the best time to prune for flowers on my shrubs?

When the shrub to be pruned is grown for its flowers, the pruning must be timed to minimize disruption of the blooming. Spring flowering shrubs bloom on last season’s growth and should be pruned soon after they bloom. This allows for vigorous growth during the summer, which will provide flower buds for the following year. Some examples of shrubs and small trees that bloom on last season’s growth:

Most shrubs that bloom after June usually do so from buds which are formed the same spring. Such shrubs should be pruned in late winter to promote vigorous growth in spring. Some examples of shrubs and small trees that bloom on current season’s growth include:

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2. When should I prune my evergreens?

Both evergreen and deciduous shrubs (those that loose their leaves in winter) should be pruned in late winter before new growth starts. Minor corrective pruning can be done anytime. For most evergreen shrubs, thinning is the most desirable procedure. Some evergreens can be sheared when a stiff, formal appearance is desired; however, they will still need to be thinned occasionally. Late season shearing can stimulate new growth that may not be properly acclimated for the cold winter temperatures, resulting in plant injury.

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3. When should I prune vines and ground cover?

Pruning ornamental vines is similar to pruning shrubs. Flowering vines are pruned according to flower production; those that flower on new wood are pruned before new growth begins. Those that flower on previous season’s growth are pruned immediately after flowering.

Vines that are grown for foliage are pruned to control growth and direction. Timing is less critical than for flowering vines.

Ground cover plants require little pruning. Dead or damaged stems should be removed whenever observed. Some trailing ground covers, such as English ivy, may need pruning to prevent encroachment on lawn areas or other plants.

With liriope, a grass-like ground cover, appearance is improved by annual pruning. Before new leaves are an inch tall, remove the dead leaves from the previous year. For large liriope plantings, a lawnmower set to cut above the new leaf tips will speed this early spring job.

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4. Web Resources for Pruning

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