Age-Old Wisdom meets Modern Tools
Pruning Practices for Common Plants
Which trees and shrubs get pruned in spring? See the Almanac’s spring pruning guide listing when and how to prune specific varieties of trees and shrubs.
When you prune a tree or shrub depends mostly on when it blooms and whether it blooms on growth produced in the same or previous years. Generally, those that flower after midsummer are pruned hard in spring. Those that bloom in winter, spring and early summer are pruned soon after flowering.
Spring Pruning Chart for Trees and Shrubs
|Apple||Early spring||Prune moderately. Keep tree open with main branches well spaced. Avoid sharp V-shaped crotches.|
|Cherry||Early spring||Prune the most vigorous shoots moderately.|
|Clematis||Spring||Cut weak growth. Save as much old wood as possible.|
|Flowering dogwood||After flowering||Remove dead wood only.|
|Forsythia||After flowering||Remove old branches at ground. Trim new growth.|
|Lilac||After flowering||Remove diseased, scaly growth, flower heads, and suckers.|
|Peach||Early spring||Remove half of last year’s growth. Keep tree headed low.|
|Plum||Early spring||Cut dead, diseased branches; trim rank growth moderately.|
|Rhododendron||After flowering||Prune judiciously. Snip branches from weak, leggy plants to induce growth from roots.|
|Rose (except climbers)||Spring, after frosts||Cut dead and weak growth; cut branches or canes to four or five eyes.|
|Rose (climbers)||After flowering||Cut half of old growth; retain new shoots for next year.|
|Rose of Sharon||When buds||Cut all winter-killed wood to swell begin growth back to live wood.|
|Trumpet vine||Early spring||Prune side branches severely to main stem.|
|Virginia creeper||Spring||Clip young plants freely. Thin old plants and remove dead growth.|
|Wisteria||Spring, summer||Cut new growth to spurs at axils of leaves.|
Do you have any tips for pruning trees and shrubs? Tell us about them in the comments below!