When to Prune Flowering Shrubs

Superior Landscaping Ltd.

When to Prune Flowering Shrubs

Timing makes a difference when pruning shrubs. Prune at the wrong time, and you could end up with no flowers until the following year.


Every variety has unique needs, so it’s a good idea to ask your local garden center for guidelines on when to prune the specific types of flowering shrubs you own. As a rule of thumb, however:


  • Prune spring-blooming shrubs after their flowers have withered and died
  • Prune summer- and fall-blooming shrubs in late winter or early spring


When pruning is necessary for the purpose of removing dead, diseased or damaged branches, it can be completed at any time.


Before you begin pruning, you need the right tools for the job at hand. Depending upon the size and height of the branches, the task may require a hand pruner, lopping shears or a pole pruner – you can find all three tools at your local garden center.


If you already own the right pruning tools, make sure they’re clean and sharp before you start. And, if you need to prune any diseased or pest-infested branches, sanitize the tools between cuts to prevent the problem from affecting other parts of the plant.


When you’re ready to prune, the outcome you want to achieve will determine your approach:


  • To encourage fuller flowering, pinch back the growth at the branch tips
  • For denser interior growth, cut the branches back to just above a lateral bud
  • To open up the shrub, make thinning