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Which shrubs should be pruned in spring?

  • Botanical Garden
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Shrubs that flower on the current year’s growth (new growth) should be pruned in early spring to maximize their flowering time. This group is essentially made up of summer-blooming plants, including wild hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens), shrubby cinquefoil (Potentilla fruticosa) and Japanese spirea (Spiraea japonica).

On the other hand, shrubs that flower on the previous year’s growth (old growth) should be pruned immediately after their blooms have faded. Most of these are spring-blooming plants, such as forsythia (Forsythia sp.), mockorange (Philadelphus sp.), lilac (Syringa spp.) and Vanhoutte spirea (Spiraea x vanhouttei).

Dead, diseased, broken or damaged branches may be removed whenever they are spotted. Sprouts and suckers may also be removed at any time.

The best time for renewal or rejuvenation pruning is early spring, before the buds open. Depending on the species, regeneration pruning may be progressive (carried out over several years) or severe (coppicing).

No matter which type of pruning is carried out, it is important to do so in dry weather, to use a well-sharpened cutting tool and to clean the blade with rubbing alcohol (ideally before and after each cut) to avoid any contamination.

To learn more, visit our deciduous shrubs pruning section.

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