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Extension > Yard and Garden News > Pruning Shrubs for Maximum Bloom

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Pruning Shrubs for Maximum Bloom


Kathy Zuzek, UMN Extension Educator

Late winter and very early spring are common times for shrub pruning.  Remember though that the pruning of shrubs valued for their flowers and/or fruit should be scheduled based on where flower buds are formed:
    forsythia bush in bloom
    Forsythia should be pruned immediately
    after flowering.
    Photo:  Bailey Nurseries
  • Most spring-flowering shrubs bloom on the previous year’s stem growth and should be pruned immediately after they bloom. New stem growth will occur in summer along with flower buds that will develop into next year’s bloom.
  • The flowers of shrubs that bloom in summer or fall are from flower buds that formed on the current season’s stem growth. The best time to prune these species is winter or early spring. This will lead to vigorous stem growth in spring and summer that contain flower buds which open in summer and early fall.


Blossoms on:
Scientific Name
Common Name
Previous Year’s Stems
Current Year’s Stems
Rhododendron
azaleas & rhododendrons
X
Berberis
barberry
X
Diervilla
bush-honeysuckle
X
Buddleia davidii
butterfly-bush
X
Cephalanthus
buttonbush
X
Prunus
cherry, almond, plum
X
Aronia
chokeberry
X
Malus
crabapple
X
Daphne x burkwoodii
daphne
X
Deutzia
deutzia
X
Cornus
dogwood
X
Forsythia
forsythia
X
Chionanthus
fringetree
X
Lonicera
honeysuckle
X
Hydrangea macrophyllum
hydrangea, bigleaf
X
Hydrangea paniculata
 hydrangea, panicle
X
Hydrangea arborescens
hydrangea, smooth
X
Syringa
lilac
X
Magnolia
magnolia
X
Philadelphus
mockorange
X
Physocarpus
ninebark
X
Exochorda
pearlbush
X
Caragana
peashrub
X
Potentilla
potentilla
X
X
Chaenomeles
quince
X
Cercis
redbud
X
Rosa
roses, repeat-flowering
X
Rosa
roses, spring-flowering
X
Amelanchier
serviceberry
X
Cotinus
smokebush
X
Spiraea prunifolia & S.
 x vanhouttei
spiraea (spring-blooming)
X
Spiraea x bumalda & S. japonica
spiraea (summer-blooming)
X
Hypericum kalmianum
St. Johnswort
X
Clethra
summersweet clethra
X
Calycanthus
sweet shrub
X
X
Itea
sweetspire
X
Tamarix
tamarix
X
Campsis radicans
trumpet vine
X
Viburnum
viburnum
X
Weigela
weigela
X
Abeliophyllum
white forsythia
X
Ilex verticillata
winterberry
X
Wisteria
wisteria
X
Hamamelis
witchhazel
X

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