The earlier the better when pruning Deciduous trees and shrubs, so do it now! Winter is the best and least stressful time for any structural pruning and larger cuts that may be required, to remove any dead, damaged, or weak branches. Avoid topping your trees as this can cause a much weaker, short-lived tree in the long run. Avoid pruning “bleeders” like Maple and Birch until late spring or early summer.
As winter starts to break up, this is the time to start pruning summer flowering plants like Limelight Hydrangea, Knock Out Roses, Rose of Sharon, and Butterfly Bush. Don’t wait too long as this can mess up the natural timing of the spring flush. If you have spring bloomers (flowering before the end of May) wait to prune them until after they bloom. It is also best to wait and prune Crape Myrtle until late March or even early April BUT NO LATER THAN THAT or you will reduce blooms in late summer!
NOTE: Our tree/shrub specialists suggest that, if you have a Crape Myrtle or Lilac that have not been flowering well recently, now is the perfect time to apply Super Phosphate. This works into the soil and the plant slowly, so it is important to apply it well before the growing season begins.