While summer is best spent looking at the beautiful garden from a shady lounge chair, there are still a few tasks that should be done. One of these is a bit of pruning. Just a bit. Not all shrubs should be pruned this time of year. Most spring flowering shrubs have set buds for next year–pruning will only remove them. However, a few snips on some flowering shrubs will increase chances of a re-bloom before the summer is over, and for flowers next year.
Here are 10 that can be pruned now, and a few that can wait till late winter or next spring.
If you are wondering which of your plants may be pruned now and which should wait, leave a question in comments below. We’ll get back to you asap!
Potentilla is a good choice for summer pruning to encourage flowering right into fall. Prolific bloomer; flower color will soften when nights are extremely hot. Versatile shrub for borders, along walks, low hedges and as a mass or foundation planting. Zone: 3 – 7
WAIT ON PRUNING THESE!
Most spring flowering shrubs are best pruned right after they bloom as next year’s buds are set on old wood–pruning will remove potential flowers. Here are a few examples of plants that should not be pruned now, but instead next year–lilacs are another. (Confused? Tell us your plant name and we’ll tell you when to prune!)
WHAT ABOUT HYDRANGEAS?
We know when to prune hydrangeas can be confusing. When it comes to pruning in summer, you will be attending only to three types–one sooner, the others later.
(1).) Mophead or French hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla) which can be cut back after they finish flowering. For most of us, that is in August or September.
(2.) Oakleaf (Hydrangea quercifolia) which requires very little pruning but if you need to improve the shape of the plant, prune in later summer or early fall (August – September).
(3.) Reblooming hydrangeas (typically the mophead types) bloom on growth from the current year as well as last year’s growth. All they really need is deadheading spent flowers and pruning out dead or weak stems. You can do that anytime.
Read here for much more on when to prune hydrangeas.
Here at the nursery we’re constantly pruning something. Here are a few of our tips for success:
Prune in early morning when your plants are fully recovered from the heat of the previous day.
Water after pruning so stems are fully hydrated and happy.
Remember that pruning can open up plants to pests and diseases. Only prune what has to be pruned!
Use sharp pruners–dull pruners can leave ragged cuts or crushed stems which are not good for your plants.
Clean your tools before making the first cut and clean again when you move from plant to plant. Finally, clean when you are done with this task.
Before wading into those beds and borders, look for nasties such as poison ivy, bees nests and snakes. You’ll be glad you did!
For the best housekeeping, discard all prunings including leaves and branches.