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Do I Need to Prune My Flowering Shrubs?

Are you looking at your beautifully blooming shrubs and wondering if you should be pruning them to keep them looking their best?

Well, you can relax. The truth is, most flowering shrubs don’t need a lot of pruning. They aren’t like boxwoods and other bushes which are generally pruned into tidy, restrained shapes. A loose, breezy look is part of their casual charm.

Flowering shrubs tend to grow in gently rounded shapes and most of the time they don’t need to be pruned more than once a year to maintain this look.

The Best Time to Prune Flowering Shrubs

If you need to shape or cut back a flowering shrub such as a Forsythia, Quince, Azelea, or Lilac, it’s best to do it as soon as the blooms fade. You can even do it while they are actually blooming and enjoy the trimmings as a nice bouquet!

Can I Trim My Flowering Shrub in the Summer or Fall?

Aside from emergency damage control, you should avoid pruning flowering shrubs later in the year. That’s because these bushes tend to form new flower buds very soon after blooming. If you wait too long after bloom-time, new flower buds will already have formed and you will be cutting those off, making it impossible for the plant to bloom next year.

Of course you can and should remove damaged branches whenever necessary. But, If you prune extensively in the summer, fall, or winter you won’t get many blooms in the following spring.

So if you see a few branches on your flowering shrub that should be cut back, why not do it now and enjoy the blooms indoors as a bouquet? That way you can enjoy your blooms inside and outside, this year and next year–what could be better?

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