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A Guide to Successful Pruning, Shrub Pruning Calendar

ID

430-462

Authors as Published

Bonnie Lee Appleton, Extension Nursery Specialist, Virginia Tech; Susan C. French, Research Specialist, Virginia Tech

Legend:

* = Best time to prune
x = Do not prune except to correct damage, hazards, or structural defects
- = Timing is not critical

Note:

  1. Flowers are produced on new (current season) wood
  2. Flowers are produced on wood from past season, pruning while dormant will reduce flowers
  3. Make pruning cuts well below diseased wood (fire blight) - disinfect shears between cuts
  4. Remove old stems to ground yearly to renew
  5. Midseason shear if a formal hedge is desired
  6. Do not cut into old wood that has no leaves or needles
  7. Spring/summer prune to remove azalia caterpillars and galls
  8. Fall/early winter pruning can reduce winter hardiness
  9. Snap candles (new growth) in half when needles are 1/2 to 2/3 their normal mature length
 JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOtcNovDecNote
Abelia**xxxxxxxx**1,4
Almond, Floweringxxxx***xxxxx2,4
Arborvitae***--**xxx**6
Aucubaxxxxx**xxxxx2
Azalea, Deciduousxxxx***xxxxx2
Azalea, Evergreenxxxx***xxxxx2,7
Barberry, Decidudousxxxx***xxxxx2,4
Barberry, Evergreenxxxx***xxxxx2,4
Bayberryxx****xxxxxx 
Beautyberry***xxxxxxx**1,7
Beautybush (Kolkwitzia)xxxxx**xxxxx2,4
Boxwood*******xxx**5
Broom (Cytisus)xxxxx**xxxxx2
Butterfly-bush***xxxxxxx**1
Camellia, Japanesexxx***xxxxxx2
Camellia, Sasanquaxx***xxxxxxx1
Chastetree (Vitex)***xxxxxxxxx1
Cherrylaurel (Prunus)*******xxx**5
Clethra, Summersweet***xxxxxxx**1
Cotoneaster, Deciduous**xxxxxxxx**3
Cotoneaster, Evergreen**xxxxxxxx**3
Crape Myrtle***xxx---xxx1,8
Daphne, Fragrant or Winterxxx****xxxxx2
Deutziaxxxxx**xxxxx2,4
Dogwood, Redtwig***xxxxxxx**1,4
Eleagnus, Thorny*******xxx** 
Euonymus, Deciduous***xxxxxxx** 
Euonymus, Evergreen*******xxx**5
Forsythiaxxx****xxxxx2,4
Fothergillaxxxx***xxxxx2
Gardenia**xxxxxxxx**1
Harry Lauder's Walking Stickxxxx***xxxxx2
Hibiscus, Rose of Sharon, Althea***xxxxxxx**1
Holly, Deciduous**xxxxxxxxx*1
Holly, Evergreenxxxxx**xxxxx2,5
Honeysucklexxxx***xxxxx2,4,5
Hydrangea, Spring- bloomingxxxxx**xxxxx2
Hydrangea, Summer- blooming***xxxxxxx**1
Hypericum, St. Johnswort***xxxxxxxxx1
Indian Hawthorn (Raphiolepis)xxxx***xxxxx2
Jasmine, Winterxxx****xxxxx2
Juniper***----xxx**6
Kerria (Globeflower)xxxxx**xxxxx2,4
Leucothoexxxxx**xxxxx4
Lilacxxxxx**xxxxx2,4
Mahonia, Oregon Grapehollyxxxx***xxxxx2,4
Mockorangexxxxx**xxxxx2,4
Mountain-laurel (Kalmia)xxxxx**xxxxx2
Nandina***xxxxxxxxx1,4
Osmanthus, Holly**---*xxxx**1,5
Pearlbushxxxxx**xxxxx2
Photinia**--***xxx**5
Pierisxxxx***xxxxx2
Pine, Mugo*xx***xxxxx*9
Pittosporumx****xxxxxxx 
Privet, Deciduous (Ligustrum)*******xxx**5
Privet, Evergreen (Ligustrum)*******xxx**5
Potentilla***xxxxxx***1,4
Pyracanthaxxxxx**xxxxx2,3
Quincexxx****xxxxx2,4
Rododendronxxxxx**xxxxx2
Rosex**xxx**xxxx1,3,4
Serviceberryxxx***xxxxxx 
Smoke Tree**xxxxxxxx**1
Spirea Spring- bloomingxxxx**xxxxxx2
Spirea Summer- blooming**xxxxxxxxxx1
Sumac***xxxx*****1,4
Sweetshrub, Carolina Allspicexxxxxx**xxxx1
Viburnum, Deciduousxxxx***xxxxx2,4
Viburnum, Evergreenxxxx**xxxxxx2
Weigelaxxxx***xxxxx2,4
Willow, Pussyxxx****xxxxx2
Witchhazelxxx****xxxxx2
Yew***-***xxx**5

Exceptions

  1. Timing varies across USDA climate zones - zones within Virginia range from 8a in the Virginia Beach area to 5b along the West Virginia border
  2. Prune anytime to correct vandalism and hazards created by equipment or weather
  3. Hedges maintained formally (tight shapes) require more pruning than hedges maintained informally (in their natural form)

Rights


Virginia Cooperative Extension materials are available for public use, re-print, or citation without further permission, provided the use includes credit to the author and to Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University.

Publisher

Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Alan L. Grant, Dean, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; Jewel E. Hairston, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State, Petersburg.

Date

May 1, 2009