Pruning Times for Flowering Shrubs
Prune in Early Spring or when Dormant Prune After Flowering
Butterfly Bush Butterfly Bush
Euonymus Flowering Almond
False Spirea Forsythia
Spirea that bloom in summer Purple Leaf Sandcherry
Spring Flowering Spirea, Bridal Wreath
Group 1 Clematis (Flowers on previous seasons growth, prune all dead and weak stems immediately after flowering)
Alpina Constance Macropetala Pauline
Alpina Helsingborg Macropetala Rosy O’Grady
Alpina Pink Flamingo Montana Freda
Alpina Willy Montana Grandiflora
Macropetala Blue Bird Montana Pink Perfection
Macropetala Jan Lindmark Montana Rubens
Marcopetala Markham’s Pink Montana Tetrarose
Group 2 Clematis (Flowers on previous season’s growth in May to June, and again in September on the currents season’s growth; prune late winter/early spring, removing dead leaves at each stage of pruning)
Alabast Ken Donson
Anna Louise Lemon Chiffon
Arctic Queen Liberationi
Asao Lincoln Star
Bees Jubilee Louise Rowe
Blue Ravine Marie Biosselot
Carnaby Miss Bateman
Countess of Lovelace Multi-Blue
Dr. Ruppel Nelly Moser
Duchess of Edinburgh Niobe
Elsa Spath Pink Champagne
General Sikorski Royalty
Gillian Blades Ruby Glow
Guernsey Cream Snow Queen
Guiding Star The President
Group 3 Clematis (Flowers on current season’s growth; prune late winter/early spring; remove dead leaves at each stage of pruning)
Blue Angel Rhapsody
Comtesse De Bouchard Rouge Cardinal
Ernest Markham Tangutica
Florida Plena Terniflora
Gypsy Queen Texensis
Hagley Hybrid Ville De Lyon
Jackmanii Viticella Carmencita
Jackmanii Superba Viticella Etoile Violette
Lilancina Floribunda Viticella Madame Julia Correvon
Madam Baron Veillard Viticella Polish Spirit
Madam Edouard Andre Viticella Purpurea Plena
Perle D’Azure Viticella Purpurea Plena Elegans
|Bittersweet||Need male and female to produce||Prune only to keep suckers under control|
|Five-leaf Akebia||Cut back heavy each winter|
|Honeysuckle||Good for shady areas.||Prune heavily during the summer, thin out vines and remove suckers after blooming.|
|Wisteria||Questionable in Ottawa’s climate||Prune in spring and again late summer|
|Silver Lace Vine||Very fast growing.||Prune when dormant|
|Boston Ivy||Red fall colour||Prune Anytime|
|Virginia Creeper||Very Hardy, red fall colour||Prune Anytime|
|Climbing Hydrangea||Excellent for shady areas||Prune in Early Spring|
|Ivy||Excellent ground covers as well as vines||Prune Anytime|
|Trumpet Vine||Available in yellow, red and orange||Prune after flowers and to keep from being too heavy|
Pruning Fruit Trees
Apples, Cherries and Pears
The best time to prune the fruit trees are in the late winter. The main reasons for this is that there is a good chance that you will get winter die back and with this being a real possibility it is best to do your pruning after this has happened. The tree should be dormant so as to minimize the possibility of losing a lot of sap from bleeding. This is the general rule if you are doing regular and routine pruning.
If you are doing major cutting and reshaping, this should be done in fall so as to not stimulate too much new growth in the early spring. Once the tree is reshaped properly you may then go back to pruning in the late winter while the tree is dormant.
|Description||Type of Pruning||Time of Pruning|
|Ash||Prune lower limbs, otherwise minimal pruning is needed||Fall|
|Birch||Prune to train when young, and to show off bark||Late Summer, Early Fall|
|Crabapple||Follow recommendations for apples||Late Winter|
|Ginkgo||Basal pruning only to emphasize tree’s height, as little as possible||Fall|
|Honey locust||Try to prune to a strong central leader as much as possible||Late Summer|
|Horse Chestnut||Prune off lower limbs or damaged limbs as need be||Late Summer|
|Lilac||Prune after flowering||Early to Late Summer|
|Maple||Prune out dead wood and to shape.||Late Summer, Never in Late Winter or Spring|
|Oak||Prune out dead, diseased, and broken wood.||Late Summer|
|Creeping Junipers||Snip out outer ends and dead branches||Spring and Summer, not past late August|
|Cedars||Regular sheering||Sheer several times a growing season, not during extreme drought or stress|
|Euonymus||Trim out dead and to shape||Throughout growing season, not during extreme drought or stress|
|Pine & Spruce||Shear as needed to maintain level of thickness wanted.||If the tree is large enough, let candles grow to one inch then clip them off completely, otherwise let them grow to 2-4” long, and pinch off the end.|
|Upright Junipers||Shear to shape as need be||Throughout the growing season, not during extreme drought or stress|
It is very beneficial to deadhead your perennials so as to encourage more blooming. If you allow dead flowers to move on to seed pods, the plant stops producing flowers, whereas if you deadhead the seed pods, the perennials automatically pushes more blooms.
Cut your perennials back after the first frost to 3” above the ground to allow for easier disease control and a cleaner garden. It is always wise to mulch your perennials before winter to help insulate them against a hard winter.
Much like perennials, but more importantly, annuals should be deadheaded as soon as the flowers start to end. This will help to encourage a fuller plant.
Annuals will also benefit from pinching and trimming to help thicken them up. If allowed to grow too tall at times, some will become spindly. By pinching the plant back, a stockier, heavier plant can be developed.
FIRST, it’s important to know that mophead hydrangeas do not have to be pruned back – ever – unless they are very old. Removing dead stems is the only pruning that must be done for the health of the plant, and these can be removed at any time. Dead blooms can also be removed at any time.
But if your hydrangea is getting much too large (or old), and you simply must prune it, use one of the following methods.
Use Method One if you have mophead or lacecap hydrangeas (these are the only type hydrangeas that are usually blue or pink) or if you have Oakleaf hydrangeas (leaves shaped like large oak leaves, white blooms).
Use Method Two if you have paniculatas (PeeGees) or ‘Annabelle’ (arborescens). Both PeeGee and ‘Annabelle’ bloom white.
PRUNING: METHOD ONE
USE METHOD I FOR: Mophead and Lacecaps (macrophyllas – usually pink or blue)
For Oakleaf hydrangeas (white blooms, leaves shaped like oak leaves)
Summary of Method I:
Prune these hydrangeas only in the summer BEFORE August (to be safe). Some experts believe these hydrangeas may be pruned even into August, but this might be risky. The hydrangeas may already have set their bloom buds for the next year.
Method I is for hydrangea types that bloom on OLD WOOD. (“Old Wood” are stems that have been on the hydrangea since the summer before the current season. “New wood” are stems that developed on the plant during the current season) This group of hydrangeas produce flower buds on hydrangea stems around August, September or October for the following summer’s blooms. If those stems are removed (pruned) in the fall, winter, or spring, the bloom buds will be removed, and there may be little or no bloom the following summer (usually June/July for the northern hemisphere).
Note that pruning is not the same thing as removing the dead blooms. (See below “Removing Old Blooms.”) There exists a small group of mophead hydrangea that will bloom no matter when they are pruned. (‘Endless Summer’ is this type of hydrangea). Your garden center can tell you when you purchase a hydrangea if it is in this special category called “everbloomers.” But for the vast majority of hydrangeas, pruning after July will likely result in fewer blooms the next summer.
HERE ARE CERTAIN INSTANCES WHEN PRUNING CAN BE HELPFUL:
(1) All dead stems should be removed from hydrangeas every year.
(2) After the plants are at least 5 years old, about 1/3 of the older (living) stems can be removed down to the ground each summer. This will revitalize the plant.
(3) In addition, if it becomes necessary to prune a plant to reduce its size, it may be cut back in June or July without harming the next year’s bloom. But it will return almost immediately to it’s former size. This is one reason why it’s best to plant a hydrangea where it does not have to be pruned.
EXCEPTIONS: For all mophead hydrangeas, the above method of pruning (Method I) will work very well. However, one may become confused when a neighbor or friend prunes his or her hydrangea at the “wrong” time, i.e. in the fall or spring, and then his hydrangea blooms just fine.
Unlike most mophead hydrangeas, there are a few that will regenerate the bloom buds they are cut off (destroyed). These hydrangeas are known as ‘remontant’. They seem to be found most abundantly in gardens in the northern regions of the U.S. and Canada. Therefore, on these special hydrangeas, if the bloom buds are killed by frost or pruned off at the wrong time, they will regenerate the bloom bud and bloom as usual. (‘Endless Summer’ is just such a hydrangea.)
PRUNING: METHOD TWO
For paniculata (such as PG and ‘Limelight’) and ‘Annabelle’
Method II is USED FOR: H. arborescens (Annabelle types) and H. paniculata (PeeGee types) hydrangeas. These types of hydrangeas bloom on new wood (new stems). It is a joy to grow these type hydrangeas because they are determined to bloom every single year, no matter how they are treated. The only time they cannot be pruned is in the spring (‘Annabelle’) or in the summer (PG) when they are preparing to bloom.
Many people grow hedges of Annabelle and cut them within a few inches of the ground each fall so they will not be an eyesore during the winter. They will still bloom beautifully in the spring/summer, however this drastic pruning may not allow stems to increase in size, and they may need staking to hold up the large heads. Go to the page on ‘Annabelle’ for a more detailed description of the pros and cons of pruning this hydrangea to the ground. While at the ‘Annabelle’ page, view a picture of Penny McHenry’s ‘Annabelle’ hedge.
Paniculatas (PG/Limelight types) can be pruned in the fall, winter, or spring. However, it is not necessary to prune them every year. It is suggested that one trim out crossing branches and those that do not contribute to an attractive form whenever necessary.
Paniculata hydrangeas are the only hydrangeas that can be pruned into a tree-form. If one is attempting to grow a paniculata as a tree, the developing trunk and main top branches should not be removed. If a panicultata that is trained into a tree-form is cut or broken off close to the ground, it will grow back as a shrub unless the training and pruning is started again from t