Pruning Charts


Seasonal Pruning Charts

The information below will help you decide when and how to prune your plantlife throughout each season.

Late Winter-Early Spring:
  • This is the best season to prune most plants because it is prior to the beginning of growth.
  • Prune at ground level of a few of the oldest canes from all mature shrubs, except the early flowering types.
  • Trim deciduous hedges wider at the base narrower at the top.
  • From dormant fruit trees - remove weak, broken and crowded branches.
  • Head back branches that have flower buds.
  • In spring, prune evergreens of winter damaged wood and discolored foliage.
  • Avoid pruning frozen wood.

APPLE: Prune moderately. Trim for low head. Keep main branches well spaced around tree.
AZALEA: To renew old plants, fertilize well for one year. Then in spring, remove any damaged or overgrown canes. Could be poisonous.
CHERRY: Prune moderately, lightly prune the most vigorous shoots.
GRAPE: Heavily prune old wood back to the main vine. Cut previous year's growth back to four or five buds.
PEACH: Prune for low, ball-shaped top at a clean trunk. Vigorously prune one half of previous year's growth. Keep center of tree open for good air circulation. Very poisonous.
PLUM: Prune moderately and a little each year at the crown to keep shoots coming on.
BARBERRY: Prune lightly after flowering to restore shape.
ELDERBERRY: After fruiting, remove some of the oldest shoots at the ground, or cut back an old plant hard to force a new crop of canes.
HYDRANGIA: Prune Hills-of-Snow variety back to the ground. For other varieties, remove weak and dead growth and cut flowering stems back to two buds.
ROSES: (Hybrid, Tea and Perpetual) After frosts, cut away dead and weak growth and shorten remaining canes to four or five buds.
SNOWBERRY: Cut old twiggy canes. Cut back last season's growth of remaining parts to three buds.

Late Spring-Early Summer:
  • This is the season of greatest growth.
  • Remove some of the oldest canes of mature shrubs after flowering. Pinch out tips to encourage branching.
  • Freely trim narrow-leaf evergreens of new growth.
  • Remove dead flowers from broad-leaf evergreens to prevent formation of speed pods.
  • Pinch any buds that may be starting unwanted growth.

AZALEA: Prune for shape after all blooming has stopped. Could be poisonous.
DEUTZIA: Prune lightly to remove a few older branches and dead twigs after blooming has stopped.
DOGWOOD: (Flowering) After flowering, remove dead wood only. (Other) Prune dead wood only to preserve natural beauty.
FORSYTHIA: After flowering, remove a few older branches. For old, neglected plants, cut back entire plant to about one foot, leave three to five canes. Could be poisonous.
HONEYSUCKLE: Cut some of the oldest wood to the ground every four to five years. Pinch shoots to encourage branching. Could be poisonous.
MOUNTAIN LAUREL: Prune lightly. Pinch off clusters of spent blossoms. Remove a few old branches at the ground to induce new growth from roots. Could be poisonous.
PRIVET: In April, cut back hard to rejuvenate old plants. Could be poisonous.
RHODODENDRON: Same as Mountain Laurel.
ROSES: (Climbing) After flowering, prune one half of the old growth at the ground. Keep new shoots for next year's flowers.
PINE/SPRUCE: Cut back candles on side of branches of young trees to one half or less after needles have expanded but before hardening

  • Summer pruning entails removal of plant parts that are actively at work.
  • Shear hedges regularly for appearance.
  • Prune some lower branches from shade trees to develop clean trunks.
  • Always be ready to pinch tips of leafy shoots, but not until after flowering.
  • Limit pruning done late in the summer as new growth may be damaged by the coming low temperatures.

APPLE: Prune to encourage good structure growth and suppoprt.
BLACKBERRY: Cut back new shoots to approximately three and one half feet.
CRABAPPLE: Cut away weak internal shoots and crowded branches to a crotch. Thin out weeping and spreading forms to accentuate their growth patterns.
HOLLY: Prune at any time of the year to restore shape.
RASPBERRY: Head back new canes to approximately 22 inches. Remove spent canes and excess shoots.
ROSES: Prune lightly to shorten shoots only. Remove faded flowers (except for species roses).
PRIVET: Starting in June, trim to shape three times at six week intervals.
YEW: Trim to maintain shape. Could be poisonous.
WILD CHERRY: Prune very lightly. Trim lower branches and burn the extremely poisonous wilted foliage.

  • Prune shade trees all winter for general shaping and to repair damage.
  • Prune shrubs once more in September, especially to remove basal suckers.
  • Avoid pruning evergreens.
  • When removing heavy limbs, use proper safety proceedures.

HONEYSUCKLE: Remove gnarled and diseased old wood. Could be poisonous.
MOCK ORANGE: Remove a few of the oldest canes every three to four years.
PEONY: (Herbaceous) Cut to the ground as leaves mature and look dry.
ROSES: (Tea and Hybrid) Lightly prune to prevent wind whipping and storm damage.
FIR: Use sharp tools to remove diseased or injured branches during very cold weather only.

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