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Monday, December 29, 2014

When Should I Winter Prune Flowering Plants?

Q. I have some bushes and shrubs in my backyard that still seem to be blooming. How do I know when they are ready to be trimmed back?

A. Sometimes we have to prune them back to make way for new growth in the spring. For small plants that get a lot of woody growth at the base, let them go through the winter and trim them back after all of the very cold weather has passed this winter. That is usually by mid-February.
Lantana after winter pruning. This was actually left too long. Prune closer to the ground. After pruning, this is what you will look at until February.

Pruning of ornamentals is all about appearance. If it looks bad to you, go ahead and prune it back. You will not hurt the plant. My major concern about pruning too early is the possibility of freezing damage and creating more work for yourself. If you prune now and we get more freezing weather then you will have to prune a second time.

Waiting until the end of the coldest part of the winter avoids pruning a second time. But if you like to go out in the yard and tinker, prune when you need to. It won't bother the plant.

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