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Prune Shrubs with a Purpose

Stop!  Don’t reach for those pruners without a plan in mind.

Prune shrubs to eliminate damaged or broken branches, control size or encourage more flowering, fruiting and improved bark color.

Remove damaged and diseased branches as soon as they are discovered. Disinfect tools between cuts with a 70% alcohol or 1 part bleach nine part water solution.

Pruning during the dormant season, when the leaves are off the plant, allows you to see the overall structure and make better pruning cuts.

Those in colder climates should avoid pruning evergreens in fall. Fall pruning exposes the once shaded foliage to the harsh winter environment.

Wait to prune spring flowering shrubs like lilac and forsythia until right after flowering. Spring blooming shrubs set their flowerbuds in early to mid summer. Pruning at other times eliminates the spring floral display.

A bit more information:  Avoid pruning late in the growing season when you can stimulate late season growth. Make cuts at a slight angle above an outward facing bud or shorter branch. Remove a few of the older stems on suckering shrubs back to ground level.

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