An early lesson in gardening is that we shouldn’t prune spring flowering trees or shrubs until after they’ve bloomed. The reason is simple. These shrubs bloom on last year’s wood, which means that the flower buds formed last year. If you prune them before they flower, you can easily prune off these buds and you won’t have flowers this year.
Spring pruning won’t hurt the shrub itself, only the flowers. If, during the spring, your shrubs develop stray shoots and branches that make them look unkempt, go ahead and prune out those untidy shoots and branches. Nobody will be the wiser, unless you leave unsightly stubs. Besides, there will be enough flowers on the remaining branches to still put on a spectacular show of color.
Be sure to cut these errant branches at ground level if possible. If you can’t reach where the cut should be made with your hand pruners, use loppers. If ground level is absolutely out of reach when pruning shrubs, make your cuts at the fork between the branch you’re pruning and one growing out from it.. That way you won’t be leaving a stub, which becomes an entryway for insects and diseases.
Like trees, shrubs should be pruned according to their needs, not because someone said they should be pruned at a certain time of the year. Some may not need an annual pruning. They may only need a snip here and a cut there. However, if you let them go for several years, they can become overgrown and need radical pruning to get them back into shape. This can lead to very unattractive shrubs until new shoots grow to fill the empty spaces.
Unlike trees, shrub pruning can be a do-it-yourself job, but I don’t know why you’d want to. When pruning shrubs, it’s a good idea to wear a long sleeve shirt and long pants. Eye protection is essential, too. Shrub branches can scratch, poke and even spring and hurt you. Our professionals are trained on how to prune shrubs for shape, as well as health and safety – the shrubs’ safety as well as their own.