When To Prune Shrubs And Trees- Full Year Guide 2020

A recurring question asked by many novice or amateur gardeners. Indeed, this is not obvious and we all regretted thoughtless acts due to practices too drastic, carried out against season or very unsightly when it is not a question of depriving oneself of a splendid flowering. When to prune shrubs and trees– the full-year guide is written here………


– Prune the trellises, vines, and Actinidia before the end of the month; later, you risk depleting these plants, the sores of which can flow in abundance, resulting in a loss of vitality.
– Prune the bushes of small fruits such as red currants, red or white berries, black currants, and gooseberries.
– Wait until February to prune fruit trees which will limit the risk of pest and disease attacks.
– Wait until May to prune stone fruit trees: cherry, plum, peach, nectarine, and apricot trees.
– Remove releases from the rootstock (suckers) by tearing them off at their base, even underground, and remove epicormic regrowth (appearing on the trunks). Finish cleaning the beds of perennials by sacrificing the stems of those that have braved the frost.

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– Aerate the tufts of shrubs by removing the old branches growing in the center, except of course for the spring flowering species. This will encourage the appearance of new vigorous branches.
– On clematis and other vines with summer or fall flowers, pruning a few old branches at their base allows tufts to be kept well supplied at their base. Remove shoots directed towards places to preserve such as gutters or roofs. Apply the same treatment to vigorous vines such as Turkestan knotweed ( Fallopia ), virgin vines ( Ampelopsis and Parthenocissus) and bignone ( Campsis ).
– Prune fruit trees before the end of February. Later, pruning can lead to excessive flow (loss of sap). A drastic pruning causes the appearance of very vigorous shoots. However, wait until May to rejuvenate stone fruit trees, such as cherry, plum, nectarine, peach and apricot trees due to the risk of blistering.
– For a newly planted hedge to develop well in the spring, do not hesitate to prune it before the end of February. This is particularly important for privet( Ligustrum ), hawthorn( Crataegus ) or arbors ( Carpinus ). Concerning spring shrubs for flowering hedges such as forsythias, Japanese quince or flowering currants, it is better to operate after their flowering.


– Rising roses are pruned traditionally between March 1 and April 1, but global warming encourages pruning earlier. Prune shrub roses to a height between ten and fifteen centimeters above the ground, and burn pruning residues which can be the vectors of several diseases. Keep only vigorous branches and refrain from doing this in freezing weather. Prune just above an eye (bud) pointing outward from the bush.
– On climbing roses, if it is an old rose, remove one or two old main branches. Prune the others if they are too long, to encourage the appearance of new shoots. Leave the others. Branches that are trellised horizontally or kept curved produce more inflorescences. Adopt, in fact, a fan shape.
– Prune the heather: cut only on the shoot from last year. Trim these dome bushes without ever cutting into the old wood, as the plant could no longer initiate new growth.
– At the end of the month or beginning of April, cut down the hardy perennial plants whose dead branches on the stand have protected the fragile buds: penstemons, Cape fuchsia, gauras …
– Drastically pull back the tufts of shrubs that grow back from the base and bloom on the wood of the year: desmodium, perovskite, caryopteris …

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When To Prune Shrubs And Trees


– Finish pruning your climbing roses, which should have been done in March. You can still, by default, prune your climbing roses in the same way, some of which will bloom anyway, certainly a little later (like ‘ Veilchenblau ‘ for example)
– Prune / fold-down also the head of your acacia ball ( Robinia pseudoacacia ‘Umbraculifera’) as well as the bean tree ( Catalpa bignonioides ‘Nana’).


– Prune early flowering shrubs that have finished flowering. For plants such as forsythia, flowering currants ( Ribes ) and spireaea , cut off some of the oldest branches each year. You will thus constantly rejuvenate your bushes which will continue to flower profusely each year.
– It is time to cut the hedges to prevent them from growing too vigorously. You will avoid practicing a drastic pruning, which can be a disaster on plants like conifers . Do not trim your hedges while birds are in the nest.
– At the end of May, do not hesitate to prune (this is the “Chelsea Chop”) a few branches of the periphery or even half the branches of some perennials like phlox , monardes , asters … Thus, they will become less tall and will flower off-center with uncut branches.
– Now rejuvenate stone fruit trees, such as plum, nectarine, peach and apricot trees. This will prevent the appearance of blistering and other cryptogamic diseases as well as gumosis.

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– In order to guarantee an abundant flowering next year, it is preferable to relieve the large rhododendrons of their faded flowers. Pinching just below the inflorescences is then ideal: next year’s flower buds will form just below. Most varieties are deflowered in June. By doing so, you will avoid the formation of seeds and relieve the plants.
– June is the appropriate month to prune fruit or ornamental cherry trees, but never remove large branches at the risk of serious diseases such as blister or gum.
– From June 21, hedge plants begin their second phase of rapid growth. They recover quickly after pruning and produce many young shoots. Trim boxwood and yew on cloudy days.
– If you bring down your lupins, delphiniums or lady’s mantles after their first flowering, they will bloom again in the fall. Seed production would require a lot of energy, which is better spent on developing new flowers. Many plants will continue to bloom as long as you remove their wilted flowers as you go.


The shrubs such as the pretty bush ( Kolkwitzia ), the weigelas and the syringes ( Philadelphus coronarius ) finish flowering at the end of this month and will be pruned without further delay. Shorten them just above a new shoot or fold the branches just above the ground.

The wisteria and actinidias, as well as vines too talkative … produce many shoots that can venture into unwanted places. Fold-down the lanky stems to fifteen centimeters.

On the vine, remove excess foliage that could hinder the formation of clusters. Also, reduce excessively twining branches.

The summer raspberries finished production in late July. All the stems that have grown can then be folded down. Palis the young shoots (keep no more than fifteen per linear meter), and fold down all the others.

The hedges can still be primed. The more you cut them, the more they will become dense which is especially desirable for a fast-growing hedge.

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  • You can prune the vigorous privet or Leyland cypress hedges again in August, but avoid doing this later in the season. Regrowths indeed require time to harden before winter.
  • Cut into balls and without attacking the old wood the tufts of lavender.
  • Make a second pruning cut on your topiaries and borders of yew and boxwood. In the latter case, avoid periods that are too sunny and dry. Ideally, wait for stormy or rainy weather.


  • A certain number of trees can “cry” if they are pruned vigorously in the spring because the flow of their sap is then particularly abundant. It is, therefore, preferable to prune birch, maple and walnut trees in autumn if necessary.
  • Prune too large oleanders. They will thus be easier to return for wintering.
  • Fold-down the old climbing roses that are too bulky. Young regrowths will be quick and hardened before winter.
  • Give sunshine to the ripening grape clusters by removing the leaves that shade them.
When To Prune Shrubs And Trees


  • Rest for the pruning shears, the shredder, and the handsaw …


  • Carry out clean prunings by folding down the ragged perennials, at least those that do not stand straight in their boots and remain pretty even under frost or snow: high orpins, phlomis russeliana, grasses…
  • Cut back the rose bushes that are too high and/or sensitive to the wind by a third, but save the branches with decorative berries.


  • Train your trees: it is important to observe the overall silhouette of each tree before pruning it. If you have to operate on your own, take a step back from time to time to judge the effect. It is easier to operate in pairs: one size and the other stays behind to assess the effect and suggest instructions.
  • Winter is a season conducive to large training or maintenance sizes. It is also a good time to saw large branches. For branches with a diameter greater than two centimeters, it is wise to brush the wound with a healing sealant.
  • You can undertake a drastic pruning of your privet hedge, which has become too high or is stripped at its base. Of course, it will appear pitiful for a few months, but will soon grow vigorously in the spring. You will then quickly benefit from a hedge that has become beautiful again.

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