Pruning Flowering Shrubs

A common source of confusion for many is gardeners are when to prune flowering shrubs.  Here are some general rules to keep in mind.

  1. Most shrubs benefit from an annual pruning.  The primary goal of pruning is to first remove any dead, damaged or diseased branches.  If your shrubs are healthy and you prefer the shrubs to have softer, loose form you can even skip pruning a couple of years. 
  2. Early spring flowering shrubs are best pruned immediately after they are done flowering.  Rhododendrons, Forsythia, Lilac are a few common shrubs that set their buds the prior season.  Pruning after flowering is completed ensures the most buds for the following year.
  3. Many summer flowering shrubs prefer to pruned while dormant.  Spirea, Caryopteris and Potentilla are prevalent in Central Oregon.

Sometimes you just have to prune. If the shrub is blocking the front walkway, go ahead and open up the access route.  It won’t kill the plant to remove a couple of branches.