June 1, 2009 Pruning Flowering Shrubs, Chores

Most of the flowering shrubs like the fragrant viburnum, bridal wreath, lilac and high bush cranberry looked great this year and from what I’m hearing it must have been a good year for everyone. They are for the most part through blooming now and to keep them flowering year after year and to keep them in check, they need to be pruned.

First of all, I like to deadhead the flower pods that are left after the bloom has died back. They are kind of nasty looking and I think it is better for the plant. I would recommend checking the internet for information on your specific shrub for details on pruning because some may require different care. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Although most shrubs can take pruning and are much better off for it.

For the lilacs, I like to cut out the older woody stems down to the ground. They say that it takes about three years before new shoots will produce a flower so I try to take out about a third of the older wood each year or so. This is commonly called renewal pruning.

Our fragrant viburnums need to be trimmed every year partly because Shirley had me plant them in the wrong place and we need to keep them from taking over the area they are in, but seriously my experience is that if you leave them alone they tend to get gigantic and very woody so I try to keep them in check by snipping back the new growth at a pair of leaflets and then the branch will split off into a new pair of branches, really filling out the shrub. I’ll probably have to trim the shrub twice or three times a year to help keep its shape.

Last weekend I tackled the bridal wreaths by renewal pruning and then shaping them a bit with hedge shears. I like to use the old manual type because I can take my time and snip off a little at a time. I tend to go crazy with the power type hedge trimmers, but if you have a lot of shrubs to do it may be the best tool to use for a big job.

Our high bush cranberrys are great this year too, but I’ll hit those about the same way I do the viburnums.

Posted in Joes Tips