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Monday, October 13, 2014

Pruning Flowering Shrubs at the Correct Time

Q. When is the right time to trim back the Desert Princess flower and Purple Sage bushes and also how far down?

A. I don't know a plant called the Desert Princess flower. If you can send me a picture maybe I will know it. I also do not know a plant with the common name of Purple Sage. I'm wondering if this is Texas Sage or Texas Ranger which is not a true Sage.
Texas Ranger in Bloom. Prune this plant after it finishes blooming this fall

            The general rule for pruning flowering woody plants is to cut them back after they finish flowering. So if a plant normally flowers during the summer and fall months then we would prune it back in the winter. If a plant normally flowers in the early spring, then we cut it back in late spring or early summer when it has finished flowering.

When plants like Texas Ranger get woody or leggy, remove one or two of the largest stems from the base. This is called gradual rejuvenation pruning.
            If these are small flowering woody plants then we could cut them back to within a couple of inches of the soil. If these are larger woody plants then we remove the oldest or most woody stems deep inside the canopy.

When pruning in this way, it is customary to remove no more than about one third of the total plant in a single pruning. If the shrub is still unsightly or overgrown, the following year we again remove one third of the shrub. In this way the shrub is in a constant state of renewal with new growth coming from the bottom and older, larger growth being selectively removed.

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