If you haven’t already, now is the time to prune those bushes and shrubs that call for “late winter” pruning. Butterfly bushes, hollies, boxwoods, pompas grass, camelias— if you have any of these in your gardens, now is the time to give them a gentle pruning or whack them back drastically, whatever they need. But be careful you are not trimming anything that will be blooming soon. Azaleas, rhododendrons, gardenias and spirea, for example should be shaped AFTER they bloom this spring and summer. If you trim azaleas or rhodies now, you will be cutting off all of this years blooms, which they set last fall. Wait until after they bloom but before July 1 to shape them up (if you must….I like the natural form of both plants the best) Hydrangeas are an entirely different matter. Some species bloom on old wood and shouldn’t be trimmed now and some bloom on new wood and would benefit from a good pruning, so make sure you know which type you have and do some research before grabbing those loppers! And while you are in the yard trimming, look up and take a gander at your tree limbs before the leaves start reappearing. Now is a great time to take note of limbs that might have been damaged this winter or are already dead and schedule a professional to come out and remove them, if necessary. Its too early to start planting but the days are getting longer and there are plenty of signs that spring is just around the corner, so take this opportunity to get outside and putter in your garden!
In Spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.” Margaret Atwood
Late Winter Pruning