posted by Sound Marketing for House Smart Home Improvements
Summer-Blooming Trees and ShrubsPlants that bloom in summer, such as potentilla, butterfly bush, and crape myrtle, produce their flowers on new growth from the current season. Prune them in winter while they're dormant, or in early spring just before they push out their new growth. You can even cut them all the way to the ground in late winter, and they'll still bloom that same summer.
Test Garden Tip: Save time by using a pole pruner with a rotating head to remove stems all the way to the base of the plant. That way, you don't have to bend over for each cut, saving not only time, but also wear and tear on your back!
Shrubs Without Showy Blooms
Cut back shrubs grown primarily for their foliage, such as barberry and burning bush, almost anytime except in late autumn. New growth that starts after late-season pruning won't harden off properly before winter. If you want to do major pruning, it's best to cut the shrub back when it is dormant in winter.
Clipped HedgesShrubs such as boxwood and privet are often sheared to form a hedge. To maintain a solid wall of green, shear the new growth frequently during the early part of the growing season. Keep the top narrower than the base so that the upper branches don't shade the lower ones. Stop shearing the hedge approximately six weeks before your area's average first frost.
Test Garden Tip: If you're growing a privacy hedge, reduce the amount of pruning maintenance needed by selecting shrubs that grow only as tall and wide as necessary to provide screening. Allow them to grow into their natural form, and little, if any, pruning will be required.
Deciduous Shade TreesPrune shade trees such as oak, linden, and ash when they are dormant in winter. It's easiest to see the branching structure at this time of year, and you're less likely to spread diseases through the pruning wounds. As with non blooming shrubs, avoid pruning them late in summer.
Test Garden Tip: Trees that produce a heavy sap flow when pruned in winter -- maples, birches, elms, and dogwoods -- are known as "bleeders." The sap flow may be unsightly, but it doesn't harm the tree. To avoid the bleeding, you can wait until the leaves have fully expanded in summer.
Deciduous Fruit TreesApples (including crab apples), peaches, pears, plums, and cherries should be pruned in midwinter. Although winter pruning removes some of their flower buds, the goal in pruning fruit trees is to open up the tree to allow in more light for a better crop of fruit, rather than to get maximum bloom.
Dormant pruning is especially important for apples, pears, and crab apples because pruning wounds during the growing season expose the trees to a bacterial disease called fireblight.
Test Garden Tip: To control the spread of diseases while pruning, dip your pruning shears in rubbing alcohol or a solution of one part bleach to nine parts water.
Broadleaf EvergreensMost broadleaf evergreens, including holly, mahonia, and some types of magnolias, need little pruning. The best time to prune them is in early spring, just before they put on their growth spurt. You can do minor shaping and pruning at other times of year, too.
Test Garden Tip: Save on holiday decorations by snipping a few branches for winter holiday greenery.
Needle-Leaf EvergreensMost trees and shrubs with needle like or scale like foliage (spruce, juniper, cypress, arborvitae, fir, yew, Douglas fir, and false cypress) are best pruned early in the growing season.
Avoid cutting back into wood that has no green needles; it may not sprout new growth. As with broad leaf evergreens, you can trim a few branch tips in midwinter to take some greenery indoors.