The Buzz

Winter Pruning

The end of November and December bring the holidays, being with family, decorating, gift giving, being thankful, and eating too much. Yet, there are still many gardening projects to complete: bulb planting, garden clean up, and my favorite winter pruning. December thru February is an excellent time to do pruning on trees and shrubs since the foliage has dropped and the structure of the plant is visible to make pruning easier.

Some of the plants that I will be pruning during the winter here at the Garden will be quince, Harry Lauder walking stick, juniper, jasmine, hydrangea, and Japanese maples and black pine.  Timing is important when pruning flowering trees and shrubs and we don't want to prune spring flowering plants in winter, because we will remove blooms, so we prune them after flowering. Summer and fall blooming plants can be pruned now, because flower buds have not formed for these plants.

Those of you who read this and send e-mails, texts, or call saying Robin pruning Jasmine and some hydrangeas now will remove flowers, are correct, it depends on the intent of your pruning. Some pruning is intended to remove dead wood, crossing branches (which can open wounds for disease or insect problems), shape plants, or control growth.

The Jasmine I'll be pruning will be a light trim and is just so I can work in an area each day that has to be cleared of leaves. Hydrangea macrophylla can be pruned in late winter cutting back to where live growth begins and removing dead stems.

So there are many techniques that can be incorporated when pruning during the winter depending on your plants and intent. So when you are here at the garden in January and February, I hope you stop by the Japanese and Asian gardens to talk about my favorite subject pruning!

By Robin Howell, curator of the Japanese and Asian Gardens at MBG.

Posted by Memphis Botanic Garden at 9:24 AM


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