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Roachy
09-06-2012, 10:53 PM
I am in the north east here: NJ Just wondering whether you guys prune shrubs much in the fall. I know spirea can probably be wacked down now but as far as hydrangeas, ornamental grass, butterfly bushes, boxwoods, and other common plants here. I feel like I get mixed results when doing searches about this. I know some plants can be cut back and others should be done in the spring. Looking for input. I have had a couple customers ask me trim overgrown beds down a lot, but I am thinking of holding off until the spring for most heavy pruning.

Florida Gardener
09-06-2012, 11:00 PM
At the very least, you can remove dead and diseased branches, as well as crossing branches. Other than that, I'd wait till spring to reduce plant size and open up the inside of the shrubs.
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Duekster
09-06-2012, 11:02 PM
What he said. Light shearing and dead stuff removals. Major stuff late winter.

Smallaxe
09-07-2012, 12:06 PM
You do know that there are things like Maples that will bleed to death if pruned after January???

That statement is a little extreme but makes the point that Springtime pruning can be dangerous... I've read in the early years about "When" and "Why" to prune various landscapes, and thought is was all confusing... But one thing I learned was:

In the temperate climate, which is Wisco & NJ included, there is nothing that can't be pruned in the Fall as dormancy sets in... Halloween is the time to prune and it can safely be done into January...

Are there any exceptions??? ... :)

Mark Oomkes
09-07-2012, 12:58 PM
I am in the north east here: NJ Just wondering whether you guys prune shrubs much in the fall. I know spirea can probably be wacked down now

Wait until after the first frost, some might have nice fall color. Maybe.

but as far as hydrangeas,

Which hydrangeas are they? Do they bloom on first or second year growth? Leave them alone unless you know which variety they are.

ornamental grass,

Why would you cut down something that gives winter interest? Leave grasses until late winter\early spring.

butterfly bushes,

Crap shoot, if they are too large, cut them down after the first frost. Do NOT cut down before that.

boxwoods,

Not sure you can really injure a boxwood. lol

and other common plants here.

It all depends.

I feel like I get mixed results when doing searches about this. I know some plants can be cut back and others should be done in the spring. Looking for input. I have had a couple customers ask me trim overgrown beds down a lot, but I am thinking of holding off until the spring for most heavy pruning.

What kind of shrubs\plants are in the overgrown beds?

You need to be careful about rejuvenation because it can cause a flush of new growth that will not be hardened off by the first frost, which can cause further problems.

As for the maples, sure, whatever. Someone better tell the maple syrup makers they're doing it all wrong. And arborists.

Winter is just about the best time for reducing plant size.
#1 Because you can do it properly, with the entire branching structure visible.
#2 If you do hack it down, it doesn't look as bad because if it's deciduous it's already bare and it doesn't look so bad.

One other question\comment for axe, are you saying that crabs can't be pruned in February or March? Or viburnum? Or burning bush? Or junipers?

Smallaxe
09-07-2012, 05:27 PM
That's not what I said and I'm not going to discuss it with you, MO... you do what you want... :)

cgaengineer
09-07-2012, 05:32 PM
No later than 6-8 weeks before first frost for hard pruning. This is very general, but some shrubs like hollies can handle pruning just about anytime of the season.
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Smallaxe
09-07-2012, 06:26 PM
No later than 6-8 weeks before first frost for hard pruning. This is very general, but some shrubs like hollies can handle pruning just about anytime of the season.
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You guys have a lot of shrubbery, that we can't grow in Zones 2-5... our safest time for pruning is during winter dormancy, with very few exceptions... most fruit trees are considered best pruned in late winter, but disease or dessication aren't that prevalent when pruned earlier... therefore the simple rule of thumb is: winter dormancy, because it doesn't harm the plant in any way...

It is easier to note the exceptions and understand the reasons, why they are pruned at times other than winter dormancy... at least that is the case in the northern zones... :)

cgaengineer
09-07-2012, 07:00 PM
I prune most trees in winter
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Florida Gardener
09-07-2012, 07:30 PM
Climate zones have a lot to do with this. The reason you don't do heavy pruning here in the winter is in case of cold weather. We have 90% tropical plants in s Florida, so a freeze or near freeze is not good for them. Snipping here and there is fine, but rejuvenating an ixora hedge in December is not the wisest idea. Palms that are cold sensitive here that have a full canopy better withstand cold weather vs palms that are hacked back. I'm probably speaking Chinese to the rest of you.
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Florida Gardener
09-07-2012, 07:31 PM
If we are talking deciduous trees, yes, winter is the best as you can see the branching the best.
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Green_Will
09-09-2012, 08:52 PM
Identify the plants that need to be pruned. Then, do the plant, yourself, and your customer a favor and do some research.

Mark Oomkes
09-10-2012, 06:09 AM
If we are talking deciduous trees, yes, winter is the best as you can see the branching the best.
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Same goes for deciduous shrubs. Unless they are woody perennials, as in spirea.

Florida Gardener
09-10-2012, 08:20 AM
Same goes for deciduous shrubs. Unless they are woody perennials, as in spirea.

Lol, we don't have deciduous shrubs in south Florida...
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wildstarblazer
09-10-2012, 08:33 AM
Yea , Florida landscapes break all the rules. That's why they have their own forum. I had to learn a whole new set of rules when I moved from Fl.:laugh:

phasthound
09-10-2012, 08:56 AM
I am in the north east here: NJ Just wondering whether you guys prune shrubs much in the fall. I know spirea can probably be wacked down now but as far as hydrangeas, ornamental grass, butterfly bushes, boxwoods, and other common plants here. I feel like I get mixed results when doing searches about this. I know some plants can be cut back and others should be done in the spring. Looking for input. I have had a couple customers ask me trim overgrown beds down a lot, but I am thinking of holding off until the spring for most heavy pruning.

Learn before you cut. http://www.cpe.rutgers.edu/programs/landscape.html

Mark Oomkes
09-10-2012, 10:27 AM
Lol, we don't have deciduous shrubs in south Florida...
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Good to know, I'm sure the OP will remember that if he moves there. :cool2: