Brian Minter: Confused about plant pruning? Here’s how to do it properly
After experiencing so much winter weather, when we begin to see the first signs of life in our gardens, it often makes us anxious to get out there and do some cleaning up and pruning.
This is when we need to be a little cautious about what and how we prune our plants back to prevent the loss of this year’s flowers.
While many of our winter flowering shrubs, like the Chinese witch hazels, sasanqua camellias, winter honeysuckles and jasmine nudiflorum are in bloom now, there is a sequence of colour still to come. Many of our late winter and early spring flowering plants and shrubs are full of buds anxious to open and add early colour to our gardens.
It’s important to understand the difference between plants that bloom on last year’s older growth and have already set buds last summer and fall, and those that bloom on this year’s new growth and then flower. Honestly, it can be confusing.
As a rule of thumb, flowering shrubs which bloom early in the spring had already set their buds by midsummer of last year. Even members of the same plant family, like hydrangeas, have “old growth” buds already set, and those like the paniculata grandifloras (PeeGee’s), need to be cut back soon, to improve the number and quality of the blooms we will enjoy this year.
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