Darrell Blackwelder: The key is in pruning correctly

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 29, 2019

One the most frequently asked gardening question concerns pruning.

Many have asked if its okay to pruning in late summer or early fall. The answer is yes. Contrary to popular belief, pruning can be done year-round if done correctly.

Light, judicious pruning does not kill plants; however, pruning depends on the type of plant, the bloom period and other growth factors.

Light judicious pruning is not the same as topping or severely pruning trees or shrubs.

Spring flowering shrubs may not bloom if severely pruned back in the late summer or early fall.

Low lying tree limbs can be judiciously removed now to give easy access to mowers and other outdoor yardwork.

Lightly pruning maple and birch trees in the fall is the best time of year because these trees bleed sap severely when pruned in late winter or spring.

Severely pruning evergreen hedges should be done in late March.

Prune back tall roses, but not as severely as in March to keep winter wind from damaging plants.

Many types of trees and shrubs tend send out shoots during the summer months and can be effectively pruned to keep the desired shape of the plant.

For more detailed information go to https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/pruning-trees-and-shrubs.

Darrell Blackwelder deblackw@ncsu.edu is the retired horticulture agent and director with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service in Rowan County.