Most people use flowering shrubs to enhance the appearance of their homes and along property lines and fences, but sometimes these shrubs will grow so exuberantly that they overgrow their allotted spot in your garden and must be cut back. Indeed, one of the biggest problems with these shrubs is knowing when and how to prune them. You don’t want to just start chopping at the plant; instead you want to be well informed about where and how to make your cuts in order not to discourage new growth and the blooming cycle. An article in the Colorado Master Gardener Notes presents excellent information on when and how to prune a shrub. Also published by Colorado State University is the very helpful and very specific “List of Common Flowering Shrubs and their Pruning Needs.” Pruning influences not only the size and shape of your plant, but also the flowering characteristics of a shrub, and may even protect the shrub from various diseases.
The Blooming Season
Since pruning can affect the development of blooms on your shrub, it is wise to know the blooming season for your shrub. If your flowering shrub is a spring
blooming plant, you do not want to prune it in the fall or winter because you would be removing the new growth on which the new buds will be forming. The time to prune a spring flowering shrub is right after it has bloomed and before the new buds are set. If your shrub were a summer flowering plant, you would want to prune it in the early spring before new growth begins. Pruning at the wrong time, and in a wrong pattern can result in fewer blooms and some hilariously misshapen plants – See Figure 2.
Pruning To Protect From Diseases
Pruning can also protect your shrubs from some diseases. Shrubs that are susceptible to powdery mildew can benefit from pruning to thin the plant and increase air circulation. Removing the affected shoots from the plant can reduce other plant diseases, such as scale, galls or borer diseases.
In order to minimize your need to prune your shrubs, you will want to balance taller shrubs at the corners of the home with lower plants along walls. You might consider dwarf varieties that will not outgrow other garden plants.
Where To Look For Garden Plants
A good place to start looking for affordable garden plants would be at an online plant nursery or your local garden center. You might consider selecting a variety of shrubs, some which bloom in the spring or summer, and some that have pretty fall foliage or are evergreen and bear berries to provide winter color. The use of ground cover plants can also add interest and design elements to your garden.