GardenSMART :: Pruning Shrubs in the Dormant Season
Pruning Shrubs in the Dormant Season
By The National Association of Landscape Professionals
Most people think of landscape maintenance as exclusively a warm-weather activity. It's an understandable assumption as it's easy to see what needs to be done when you are outdoors, enjoying the beauty of your landscape. However, when cooler temperatures bring you indoors, out of sight should not mean out of mind when it comes to your shrubs, because the best time to prune many of them is actually in the dormant season, when plants are not growing.
Photo courtesy of The LaurelRock Company, Wilton, CT
When a shrub is dormant, it is much easier to identify problem branches than when the shrub is crowded with growing leaves or needles.
Removing dead or dying branches redirects the resources they would have used to be channeled to the plant's healthy areas.
Healthy plants are better prepared to withstand damage from harsh weather conditions.
In the cooler months, openings in the bark are less vulnerable to pest or disease damage.
The dormant season—generally late fall to early spring—is also a good time to prune because pruning cuts in the bark will heal more quickly than during the growing season. Since the pruning process will not coincide with new growth, plants can focus their efforts on repairing pruning cuts before they channel their energies into growing and blooming.
What to Prune
There are many shrubs that are best pruned in the dormant season, many of which are summer bloomers. Some of these include:
It's important to note that not all shrubs are best trimmed when the weather is cool. Many spring-flowering shrubs such as forsythias and lilacs are not good candidates for dormant season pruning. They are best pruned right after they bloom. Dormant season pruning may eliminate their buds and diminish their spring show.
Besides the benefits to the plants themselves, the dormant season makes logistical sense when it comes to pruning shrubs. In colder months, the ground is typically firm, if not frozen. This stability means you will be unlikely to harm the grass areas surrounding your shrubs as you prune. Dormant months are also a good time for pruning because there is little else to be done in terms of your lawn and landscaping. Once the weather breaks, there will be no shortage of outdoor chores – so it makes sense to take care of pruning before things get too hectic.
Pruning during the dormant season encourages vigorous growth in the spring and summer and also adds to your shrubs' long-term health. If you need guidance or assistance regarding an optimal strategy, contact a landscape professional in your area.
All articles are copyrighted and remain the property of the author.
By Heather Rhoades, GardeningKnowHow.com,
Photographs courtesy of GardeningKnowHow.com
Cover crops are an often-overlooked way to improve the vegetable garden. Oftentimes, people consider the time between late fall to winter to early spring to be a time where the vegetable garden space is wasted. We think our gardens rest during this time, but this is not the case at all.
Join fellow garden lovers, history buffs and music enthusiasts to discover the quaint towns and colorful gardens of Holland and Belgium in May of 2018.
This exciting journey will be hosted by nationally known host Eric Johnson, of Public Television's blockbuster show GardenSmart. Your river cruise begins in Amsterdam where you'll see works by Rembrandt and Van Gogh, Anne Frank's House, and see the city's most famous gardens. Then spend a full morning on the grounds of the most beautiful spring garden in the world-Keukenhof! Visit the picturesque Belgian towns of Bruges and Ghent as well as Kinderdijk, with the Netherlands' iconic collection of 19 authentic windmills that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In addition, history buffs will experience a captivating tour of the WWI trenches of Flanders and WWII Arnhem Battlefield of A Bridge Too Far fame. You won't want to miss this extraordinary garden adventure to Holland and Belgium.
Book by November 15, 2017 and save up to $1200 dollars per person!
To register call:
Alki Tours at 800-895-2554
Click here to sign up for our monthly NEWSLETTER packed with great articles and helpful tips for your home, garden and pets!