Monday, May 28, 2012

Quick Guide for Pruning Evergreens

Row of happy and contained Boxwoods (Buxus microphylla)
By now, I'm hoping all of your evergreens are looking happy and fresh.  The winter damage is best pruned before all the new fresh growth begins-which was about three weeks ago.  I love inkberries (ilex glabra), but sadly, they suffered a beating this year.  Many succumbed to the winter foliage burn.  The temperatures were just right and hit them hard. You know if your inkies got it-they turn brown and ugly.

Just 'cuz part of my pastime is clipping plants, I thought I'd share some quick pointers on pruning evergreens:
  • Dead or damaged wood on evergreen conifers can be removed at any time
  • Flowering broad leaf evergreens that bloom on new wood should be pruned in late winter or early spring before new growth begins
  • Flowering broad leaf evergreens that bloom on old wood (azaleas and rhodies) should be pruned immediately after they bloom and before new growth begins for next season.  THIS IS NOW.
  • To slow are keep a broad leaf evergreen dwarf, after it's main spurt of growth, remove up to a third. You can cut the main stem back to the first side shoots, but don't take more off than has grown the last two seasons.
  • To reduce the size and encourage dense branching in evergreens like pines, cut the candles back by half when growth is complete.  Prune the tips of yews, junipers, and hemlocks lightly any time during growing season. THIS IS NOW.
  • To establish a shape, prune evergreen shrubs and hedges when they are three to five years old.
  • If there is a hidden spot save some pruning of your evergreens for the holidays!
Now-get to work-it's nice outside!!!
(Tips from Gardening New England Month-by-Month)

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