Tips for Summer Plant Pruning

Summer plant pruning will help keep your gardens healthy and thriving. Cutting back spent or damaged areas allows for new growth to emerge.

Are you wondering about summer plant pruning? In this month’s blog, we’ll share some easy tips for pruning popular flowering shrubs to help keep your garden treasures looking their best. Read on to learn more!

Why Prune Plants?

Pruning plants can accomplish a variety of goals:

Reach Optimal Growth. When dead or diseased parts of a plant are removed, the plant can put its energy into new growth. This means removing insect- and weather-damaged, and scraggly foliage and branches.

Control pests. Damaged or weakened plant parts provide easy food for small animals, deer, and insects.

Improve bloom quality by allowing better airflow and access to light.

Rejuvenate older plants. Pruning will help older plants retain their mature structure and improve their capacity to bloom.

Reduce plant size if you plan to move shrubs or want to keep them compact.

Achieve certain shapes or showcase flowers in a particular way.

Summer Plant Pruning

Standard practice is to prune woody plantings after the blooming period is over. Here are pruning tips for several of the most popular spring/early summer blooming shrubs.

Prune your azaleas right after they finish blooming in early summer. It’s easiest to use hand-pruners on small branches, but long-handled loppers are best for branches more than a half inch thick. The loppers will also let you get to harder-to-reach branches.

To keep your azaleas compact, cut the new growth back a few inches in early summer. Keeping up with annual pruning will prevent your azaleas from outgrowing their surroundings, which would require drastic pruning.

After your forsythia shrub finishes blooming, remove the oldest canes completely (down to the base). These are the woody ones; newer ones will be green and flexible. Prune back any exterior canes drooping toward the ground, and if necessary, remove a few interior canes to allow in more light and improve airflow.

Some rhododendrons can become leggy or bushy if they have not been pruned for several years—but judicious pruning can revitalize them. First, cut away any dead branches, then prune weak branches, and cross-branches (horizontal ones). This will open up the plant’s structure, letting in the light and air it needs to be healthy.

Branches that droop to the ground provide stairways for bugs and allow pests to hide, so cut them back, too. Prune branches flush with the main branches or trunk when possible; don’t leave stubs. Thinning the small outer branches is the final step in the process.

With spirea shrubs, you can prune overgrown shoots and stems, and diseased or dead branches at any point during the growing season.

Those varieties that bloom in spring sprout from old wood. Summer-blooming spirea emerge on new wood/growth that comes from the base.

When pruning spirea, make the cuts within a quarter inch of a bud or leaf. With spring-blooming varieties, you can trim the canes right to the ground after blooming season is over.

Prune to Protect

Pruning is an important part of overall plant care. It keeps plants healthy and free of debris that attracts animals and insects.

Another critical step to optimal plant health is keeping small animals and deer away from your plantings. This can be easily accomplished with Bobbex Repellents, which are eco-friendly and safe for people, plants, and pets. Bobbex will help keep deer and small animals from pruning your plants for you!

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