Late winter and early spring, before buds appear, is the time to prune most trees, shrubs and vines. Read our pruning guide to determine which plants benefit from pruning.
While chances of frost are still looming, there are productive things that can be done in the orchard and yard at present when a sunny day lures us outdoors. Late winter and early spring, before budding occurs is the time to remove dead and broken limbs and to shape certain trees, vines and bushes.
How to Keep Your Pruning Shears in Shape
The right tools make pruning a breeze. Loopers, hand clippers and shears help trim and shape everything in your yard from tree branches to vine. Always make clean cuts using sharp, rust-free pruning tools to avoid limb disease and bug infestation. If there is any evidence of rust on the blade of your pruning tools, wipe the tools clean with vegetable oil before using. Oil the wooden handles of your pruning tools with linseed oil annually.
Plants & Trees to Prune in Late Winter/Early Spring:
Barberry - remove dead branches or reshape
Boxwood - clip new growth off shrub and reshape.
Butterfly Bush - remove dead branches or reshape
Clematis – Prune summer-blooming varieties of this climbing vine
Citrus trees - lemons, oranges, tangelos, etc. before blooms appear
Flowering Dogwood – Remove only dead wood and to
Fruit trees and bushes - blueberry, currant, gooseberry, pear, apple, etc.
apple, etc. before blooms or new growth appears
Holly - bushes or trees
Lilacs – prune shrub branches to encourage fuller flowering
Pyracanthas - prune overly long shrub stems to keep it in its established perimeters.
Roses - prune in the first month that no freeze will occur.
This is a general pruning list. For more specific and detailed information on how to prune and when to prune in your growing region, check with your local garden center or agricultural county extension agency. Proper pruning now will produce those beautiful blooms you long for in the months ahead.
About the author:
Deborah Tukua is the editor of Journey to Natural Living and the author of the healthy fresh from the blender recipe book, Naturally Sweet Blender Treats. She is a freelance writer for the Farmers' Almanac and Chiropractic Economics magazine and author of the book, Marketing Strategies for Chiropractic Success.
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