TIPS ON PRUNING LANDSCAPE PLANTS by Larry Williams, UF/IFAS Extension Agent

Pruning is the removal of plant parts.  Sounds simple enough; however, in addition to this definition there needs to be a defined reason or purpose for pruning.  And, based on the type of pruning and plant species involved, time of year when pruning is done is important.  In addition, knowledge of how plants respond to pruning is important.

Without getting into the details of much of the above, my purpose in today’s article is to share short tips on pruning some of our common landscape plants.  These tips are taken from a University of Georgia Extension publication.  More detailed pruning information is available through a UF/IFAS Extension publication titled Pruning Landscape trees and Shrubs http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/mg087.

  • AZALEA:  Prune by thinning after bloom if necessary.  Don’t prune at all if plant looks good.  Overgrown plants can be renewed by being cut back close to ground level in February.  Pruning after June may reduce or prevent flowering the following spring.
  • CAMELLIA:  Thin out branches after bloom if necessary.  Camellias generally require little pruning.  Pruning after June may reduce or prevent flowering the following spring.
  • HOLLY:  There are many different growth habits and forms.  Most are evergreen but some species are deciduous.  If plants are prized for berries, prune them in late winter, before spring flowering.  If berries are not a concern, thinning (or shearing of small-leaf types) can be done any time during the growing season.
  • HYDRANGEA (Bigleaf, French, Oakleaf):  Flower buds form on old wood.  Prune after flowering.
  • HYDRANGEA (Panicle, Smooth):  Blooms form on new wood.  Prune when dormant and remove spent blossoms after flowering.
  • JUNIPER:  Maintain shape or eliminate undergrowth of ground cover types by thinning during the growing season.  Avoid heavy pruning to old wood because new growth will not occur.
  • OLEANDER:  Flowers appear on new growth so prune just prior to spring growth.  Thin out old wood and head back top for desired shape and height.
  • ROSE (Hybrid tea, Grandiflora, Floribunda):  Prune in early spring when new growth begins.
  • ROSE (Climbing):  After flowering, thin out old canes and head back remaining shoots by about one-third, depending on their vigor.
  • SPIREA:  Prune by thinning after bloom.  Most species respond well to severe pruning.
  • VIBURNUM:  Prune after flowering or fruit set to thin out oldest, non-fruiting wood and to improve shape.
  • WAX MYRTLE:  Prune to desired shape during the growing season
  • WISTERIA:  Prune after flowering.  This is a very vigorous vine and it can be heavily pruned.


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