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June – It Rhymes With Prune

It’s nice that June rhymes with prune because that’s the month that a number of landscape plants should be pruned. Specifically, all evergreens can be pruned in June. So can spring flowering deciduous shrubs. Pruning now gives the plants plenty of time to heal before fall, when it’s time for them to form next year’s growth buds

Evergreens’ biology is very different from deciduous trees and require different care. About now, new growth should begin appearing on the branch tips of both needled and leafed evergreens. It can be identified by its bright green color. New growth on coniferous plants can be further identified by feeling the new needles. They’ll feel softer than those on old growth. Wait until the new growth is complete before pruning. Otherwise, the new growth will continue and you’ll have to prune again when the growth spurt is complete.

If the plant size was satisfactory before new growth began, just remove the new growth. If you want the size reduced, remove old growth as well. Be careful, though. Many evergreen shrubs’ interior is so shaded that no foliage grows there. Exposing into the interior will leave you with irreparable brown spots. To remove only new growth, be sure you do it after the new growth is complete but before it hardens. Otherwise, it’ll be difficult, if not impossible, to tell where the new growth ends and the old growth begins.

Most evergreen trees do not need as much pruning as deciduous trees. Evergreen trees are usually pruned to control size and to remove dead, dying or broken branches. Pruning evergreen trees is not a do-it-yourself job. Besides evergreen trees’ height, their branches are very “springy.” They can break easily if you try stepping on them, and they can spring back, stabbing you with their sharp needles. Confine your pruning to evergreen shrubs and leave tree pruning to our professionals.

If you have spring flowering deciduous shrubs that need pruning, now’s a good time to prune them, if you haven’t already. Don’t prune them just because they’ve finished blooming. Prune for specific reasons, such as reducing the height or girth. Removing interfering shoots is another good example. Shoots may be cascading over a sidewalk or driveway. This doesn’t mean that you should cut back the whole shrub. Just remove the offending shoots.

Don’t prune spring flowering shrubs back to the ground like you do with later blooming shrubs like butterfly bush (Buddleia). These plants bloom on new wood. Early blooming shrubs like forsythia and lilacs bloom on last year’s wood. If you prune that wood as far back as you would a butterfly bush, you could kill the shrub since you’ve removed most or all of the leaf buds.

You don’t have to prune your own shrubs. Our professionals can care for them, just as they do your trees. By turning it over to the pros, you don’t have to make technical decisions. You also won’t have to dress in a long sleeve shirt, long pants and gloves on a hot summer day to keep from getting scratched.

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