Pruning shrubs and trees: Making gains by cutting back
In many parts of the country, March is pruning month, the time to dust off your clippers and start cutting back shrubs and trees.
(Page 2 of 2)
This is not a good time to prune roses [pdf]. Roses are cut back pretty severely in my yard, and I don’t want bitter temperatures to descend after pruning and kill any remaining tissue. So I let roses wait until some real warm air appears and the bushes start to leaf out. Diseased, dead, damaged stems get removed as well as stems that head into the center of the bush. (Note: A few roses bloom on last year’s wood, like many heirlooms and the New Dawn climber. So – prune them after blooming.)Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Many evergreen plants can be pruned now as they are going to be coming out of dormancy soon and will begin to grow again. Boxwood can wait until late April to be pruned.
Cleaning up winter damage will be important this year. Cracked and broken branches can be pruned out carefully and most plants will recover well. Cut back to a leaf node rather than leaving a stump and your plants will be happier. Step back frequently to see how well balanced the remaining branches are. And stay off that ladder.
Donna Williamson is one of nine garden writers who blog weekly at Diggin' It. She's a master gardener, garden designer, and garden coach. She has taught gardening and design classes at the State Arboretum of Virginia, Oatlands in Leesburg, and Shenandoah University. She’s also the founder and editor of Grandiflora Mid-Atlantic Gardening magazine, and the author of “The Virginia Gardener’s Companion: An Insider’s Guide to Low Maintenance Gardening in Virginia.” She lives in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.
To read more by Donna, click here. The Monitor’s main gardening page offers articles on many gardening topics. Access all our blog posts here (keep scrolling down to read more), If you don't want to miss any of our gardening coverage, consider subscribing to the RSS feed of the gardening page and the RSS feed of Diggin' It. Do visit Gardening With the Monitor on Flickr. Take part in the discussions and get answers to your gardening questions. If you join the group (it’s free), you can upload your garden photos and enter our next contest.