The key to successful pruning is to have sharp pruning shears. We suggest that you dip the blades in rubbing alcohol before using them.
Perennials :: All perennials should be cut back as needed. In the late fall, after a few hard frosts, or even in the early spring you may cut perennials back to the ground after they have turned completely brown. The exception to this are coral bells, dianthus, and lavender. Only cut these back a little, not all the way to the ground (don't cut back into the big woody branches). Autumn Joy Sedum flower heads may be left on during the winter for added interest, then cut back in the spring.
Grasses :: All grasses may be left up during the winter for winter interest and then cut back in the spring before new growth appears. If you wish you may cut them back in the early winter when the grass has completely turned brown. Cut all grasses back to 6-9" after a couple hard frosts.
Trees :: Trees need little to no maintenance. Just make sure they keep a descent shape that you like. When pruning trees and shrubs (not shearing) make sure to cut back to a bud so there are no stubs sticking out. Make sure they don't go into the winter with really dry soil. Should be watered into December if ground has been dry during late summer or early fall.
Shrubs :: Pay attention to flowering times when pruning shrubs. Some set their buds in the fall and winter, so pruning them late in the year could decrease the number of flowers you see the following spring.
Butterfly Bush and Caryopteris :: Trim back to 12 - 18" in late spring after new leaves come out. Cut out old canes and keep newer, younger branches. During the summer spent blooms may be cut off to promote more blooms but it is not necessary.
Boxwood :: Boxwoods may be pruned two different ways. They may be sheared or hedge trimmed into boxes or balls, or they may be hand pruned as needed to achieve a more natural look.
Clethra :: Should be pruned to shape after the blooming season, usually the end of July.
Hydrangea :: Different hydrangeas require different pruning. Please make sure of they type you have, if you don't know what variety you have please call. (419-287-4679). For more information about growing hydrangeas, check out our Hydrangea Care page.
Macropphylla, Mopheads (Endless summer, Pia, Merrit Supreme, Glowing Embers, Masja, Nikko Blue, All Summer Beauty), Serratas (Perziosa, and most 'lace caps'), Sawtooth :: Don't trim these back, only remove old flower heads. Can leave any leaves in the center of the plant and around the plant to help protect the buds for next year. In June cut out old dead canes (should snap off if dead).
Paniculata (Limelight, Little Lamb, Tardiva, Unique, Pinky Winky) :: Flowers on new growth, so can trim to shape in early spring.
Quercifolia, Oakleaf (Alice, Snow Queen, Pee Wee, Sikes Dwarf) :: Trim after flowering if needed or can leave flower heads on through the winter and cut back in the spring. Usually only trim to shape if needed, then cut back to bud.
Annabelle :: Can cut back in fall to 6" since it flowers on new growth.
Lilacs :: Prune all lilacs back after they have bloomed. If you cut them back after the middle of July, there may not be as many blossoms the following spring.
Lilacs on Standards (Tree form) :: Usually trimmed to a ball shape, either sheared or hand trimmed. Same as other lilacs don't trim after the middle of July, but you can cut any long shoots that form after that.
Privet :: Prune as needed. Privet is a fast grower, and can handle pruning at almost anytime of the year.
Rhododendron :: These plants don't need to be pruned a whole lot. If a branch gets too long or out of control then prune it back, otherwise they should maintain their own shape.
Rose of Sharon :: Trim in the early spring
Shrub Roses :: Normally you should only need to trim back any long shoots to make the plant more compact for winter so the wind won't break them off. In spring, when they first starting to bud out, trim back to 12-18" to a bud. Rabbits will chew on canes in the winter.
Spirea :: Usually trimmed to a ball shape. Trim in the early spring (March, April) before they leaf out and then a give another light shearing after they flower to promote another flowering in July and August.
Sweetspire (Henry's Garnet/Little Henry) :: Prune as needed, light pruning. Usually only long sprouts here and there occasionally.
Viburnums :: Usually have their buds set by the middle of September. Don't do any trimming after the middle of July. You can cut back any long shoots that form after that, but it may reduce their flowering.