Pruning the shrubs and bushes

Improving health of shrubs and bushes


Give your trees, shrubs and bushes what they need.
Give your trees, shrubs and bushes what they need.

Pruning the shrubs and bushes in our yards can vastly improve not only their appearance but also their health and vitality. It can, however, be a bit intimidating. At VIRIDIS Lawn Care of Salt Lake, we want to help you have to confidence and know-how to take on this task yourself should you desire. Here, we will overview some basics of shrub pruning with following posts going into more detail for specific types of plants and their needs.

Most importantly, when pruning any plant, is safety. Using the appropriate tools and safety gear can help this job go much more smoothly. Make sure all pruning shears are sharp. Wear long sleeves and gloves to prevent scratches to your arms and hands. You may even consider safety glasses.

Second most important, forget your fear. Fear of injuring your plant will only hold you back. Not pruning can actually cause more harm than leaving a bush to its own devices. This can reduce air and light circulation, killing off the lower, inner branches. Limbs may begin to grow into each other which can damage or kill them. The plant may end up with unevenly distributed weight or poorly formed branches that can cause breakage. Flowering shrubs will decrease their blooms. By pruning properly you can avoid all of these situations.

Next, know your plant and prune when the time is best for it, not you. Busy schedules happen. Sometimes a long weekend off seems like the best time to get out there and do some yard work but pruning during the wrong season for your particular shrub can cause serious problems. Poor timing can result in stunted growth, little or no flowering the following year, and even a potential for your plant to die over the winter. Some pruning, such as the removal of any dead or damaged wood, can be undertaken any time of year at your convenience.

Below are some recommended pruning “seasons” and the types of plants that prefer to be pruned in each case.

  • Very Early Spring – Prune any summer-flowering bushes while still dormant. Bare limbs will help you see the structure of the plant and make it easier to shape as desired. Once the plant begins actively growing, the cuts will heal quickly.
  • Very Early Summer – This is an ideal time to prune spring-flowering shrubs. Once their blooms fade, they begin producing flowers on only their previous season’s growth. Pruning sooner will increase flower production rather than cutting off the next year’s blossoms by waiting until later in the year.
  • Midsummer – This is best for any trees or shrubs that have large amounts of spring sap. Once their leaves are fully developed, the sap production will slow which will make pruning a much easier, cleaner endeavor.

In following articles we will go into more detail on how to specifically prune different varieties of plants and when, because pruning really can increase the health and beauty of your landscape.

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