PRUNING INFORMATION FOR WINTER
Old habits die hard. As a gardener and former landscaper, I can't help but think about my landscape as winter begins its rule over my garden. May I talk a little about plants to help me get through the dreary doldrums of winter? Let's talk about pruning:
What should I prune?
- Trees and shrubs that are overgrown.
- Plants damaged by disease, insects, or weather
- Plants that are crowding others or are poorly shaped
What tools do I use?
- Hand pruners are used for cuts on stems that are less than one half inch in diameter.
- Lopping shears are used for stems and branches that are larger than ½ inch yet smaller than 1 ½ inches in diameter.
- Pruning saws are best for branches that are larger than 1 ½ inches in diameter.
- Pole saws are cutting blades or saws on along pole and are used for pruning tree branches that are too high to reach from the ground.
- Hedge shears are manual, gas powered or electric tools that are used to shear hedges for a neatly trimmed appearance.
When do I prune?
- Avoid pruning during the fall or early winter as new growth is encouraged and may be damaged by cold weather.
- The following shrubs should be pruned before spring growth begins as they bloom on "new wood." This is typically in February or March.
Beautyberry (Callicarpa species) Butterfly-bush (Buddleia davidii)
Camellia (Camellia species) Chastetree (Vitex agnus-castus)
Viburnum (Viburnum trilobum) Anthony Waterer Spirea (Spiraea x bumalda)
Crapemyrtle (Lagerstroemia species) Floribunda roses
Fragrant Tea Olive (Osmanthus fragrans) Gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides)
Grandiflora roses Glossy Abelia (Abelia x grandiflora)
Goldenraintree (Koelreuteria species) Japanese Barberry (Berberis thunbergii)
Japanese Spirea (Spiraea japonica) Nandina (Nandina domestica)
Rose-of-Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) Sweetshrub (Calycanthus floridus)
How should I prune?
- First, remove branches that are rubbing, crossed over each other, dead, diseased, or dying.
- Next, determine if you need to prune to reduce height and spread, to thin, or to shape. You may want to consult the NCSU or Clemson University websites for detailed information regarding these issues.
- Making the proper pruning cut is very important for the appearance and the health of the plant. Remember to always cut back to a bud, a lateral branch, or to the main trunk.
- When cutting back to a bud, the cut should be at a slight angle just above the bud.
Proper pruning will improve the health and appearance of your plants. And healthy plants improve the appearance and value of your home. Happy gardening!
Illustration courtesy Clemson University HGIC.