The arrival of spring is greeted by the flowering of ornamental trees and shrubs throughout the landscape. Ornamental trees and shrubs like cherry, crabapple, dogwood, azaleas, rhododendron and redbud all flower in the spring and brighten up your property with their spring flowers. We are frequently asked when is the best time to prune flowering trees and shrubs so that the flower production is not harmed.
As a general rule, trees and shrubs that flower in the spring should be pruned (excluding minor pruning or deadwooding) shortly after they flower. The reason being that trees that flower in the spring develop their flower buds during their previous years growth and the buds overwinter until spring. Pruning done before flowering in spring will remove these flower buds and reduce the flowers on the trees.
Trees and shrubs that bloom later in the year (from June on) should be pruned in the winter or early spring. These plants develop flower buds during the spring of the bloom year, so early pruning will not remove the flower buds. Certain plants, such as Weigela or Cotoneaster can actually benefit from light pruning both before and after flowering.
The above information is meant to be a general guide on when to prune shrubs and flowering trees. Always remember that the removal of dead limbs and branches can be done anytime of year, as can minor pruning on many types of trees. If you have any questions on this or any other tree pruning topic, our ISA certified arborists would be happy to help you.