Pruning Shrubs and Trees
Many plants don’t need severe pruning, just remove dead or diseased wood, and cut off the spindly shoots and suckers from roots and lower branches. Shrubs that are getting too tall may need thinning and shaping to control their size.
Pruning Deciduous Shrubs
Flowering shrubs should be pruned immediately after flowering. (Shrubs that don’t flower should be pruned in late winter.) If the shrub doesn’t appear to be overgrown, you probably won’t have to prune much. However if the plant has a poor flower show, you can thin it to promote future flowering. Remove up to one-third of the shrub’s branches, carefully selecting them so that you retain the shrub’s natural shape.
Pruning Deciduous Trees
Take a gentle approach to pruning: instead of severely pruning a specimen all at one time-called topping-prune over a 3- to 5- year period. Prune when it is dormant in late winter, not in spring when leaves a re forming Oaks and walnuts are exceptions to this rule. They should be pruned in early summer to ward off diseases. When pruning, help the tree retain one strong central trunk or “leader.” Prune any competing leader, branches that rub against other branches, old stubs, broken limbs, dead wood, crowded branches, and thin shoots from the trunk or lower branches.