• 64°

Pruning questions come as soon as weather changes

When I’m out and about, pruning advice seems to be the most recurring inquiry from many homeowners.

It’s the change of seasons or weather conditions that sparks interest in pruning, whether it’s a light trimming or a complete bloodletting. Landscape plants and trees all need some type of pruning as they grow and mature.

The best time to prune trees and shrubs depends upon the type and age, time of year and the overall objective for plant growth. That is an over-simplified answer to a very complex situation since all landscaping materials have differences in growth habit, bloom cycles and susceptibility to cold damage.

Below are a few of the most commonly planted plant materials with information about pruning specific plant materials.

Boxwoods — If you want to lightly prune them, almost any time during the year is fine. Severe pruning is normally recommended in mid-March.

Azaleas — Azaleas, rhododendron and other flowering plants should be pruned just after bloom. Prune standard azaleas during late spring and early summer. Don’t prune after July 4, because most are setting buds for next year. Encore azaleas should be pruned lightly after bloom.

Camellias — Lightly prune camellia sasanqua and japonica after bloom.

Fruit trees — Fruit trees are best pruned in the late spring, the later the better. Pruning stimulates growth hormones and unseasonably warm weather stimulates growth, increasing the possibility of late frost damage in the spring. So, if the trees normally bloom in April, pruning in March is advisable. The older the tree, the earlier you can prune.

Grapes — Grapes need to be pruned every year to ensure proper growth and development. The best time is generally February and March. Lightly pruning grapes in June will normally cause no winter damage, however, late winter pruning is best for both muscadine and bunch type grapes.

Crape myrtles — Many people prune crape myrtles year-round with no damage. However, to avoid winter injury, research has shown pruning in mid-March or April is best to avoid winter damage which can delay bloom. Do I have to prune my crape myrtles? No, crape myrtles will bloom without annual pruning.

Ornamental trees — Most shade trees can be judiciously pruned in early spring, however, birch and maple bleed much less if you prune them in September when leaves are still present. Research has shown that pruning paint is of no benefit and in some cases is a detriment, allowing fungi to develop between the paint and the newly pruned wood.

In general, most all plants can be lightly pruned year-round. Tipping back radical shoots or sporadic growth will not severely damage plants.

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

Comments

Nation/World

Clinton recovering from infection 

Crime

Teen charged in shooting at Mount Tabor High School held without bond

Nation/World

Marine officer receives reprimand for Afghanistan criticism

Elections

Beasley top fundraiser in third quarter for Senate race

Farm & Garden

Nearly 1-ton pumpkin sets record at state fair

High School

High school football: Loeblein throws record six TD passes for Falcons; Cavs, Hornets romp

Nation/World

UK lawmaker stabbed to death in terrorist act

Crime

Cooleemee man arrested after trading gunfire with Davie County investigators in Rowan

Elections

Salisbury council candidates list crime reduction, hiring a new city manager among city’s top priorities

Crime

Blotter: Man charged with trio of vehicle break-ins

Coronavirus

Catawba College will require COVID-19 vaccinations in 2022

Local

City selects Sada Stewart Troutman as new Downtown Salisbury Inc. director

Local

Rowan Republicans’ Lincoln-Reagan Dinner brings conservatives together for night of speeches, awards

High School

Photos: South Rowan volleyball team’s Senior Night, Falcons’ unblemished SPC season

Coronavirus

Four new COVID-19 deaths make 433 in Rowan since start of pandemic

Nation/World

Bill Clinton in hospital for non-COVID-related infection

Local

Quotes of the week

Coronavirus

FDA panel endorses lower-dose Moderna COVID shot for booster

High School

High school volleyball: West edges South for unbeaten SPC season

Nation/World

Full pension restored for FBI official fired under Trump

News

Former Gov. Perdue leading standardized testing board

Elections

Salisbury mayoral candidates Alexander, Heggins talk leadership style during Chamber of Commerce forum

Local

Photos: Rowan deputy’s funeral procession passes through downtown Salisbury

Crime

24-year-old man jailed for kidnapping, rape charges