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Best Time To Trim Bushes

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Chris Wagner, May 20, 2003.

  1. Chris Wagner

    Chris Wagner LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 252

    Any advice on the best time to trim bushes? Seems like spring isn't ideal because new growth is coming in. Summer seems like it may cause stress on the plant during heat and dry conditions (Chicago area).

    Am I off track? Your advice?
  2. KenH

    KenH LawnSite Bronze Member
    from CT
    Messages: 1,622

    Depending on what you are trimming.
  3. NCSULandscaper

    NCSULandscaper Banned
    Messages: 1,557

    Depends on what type shrub it is. If its a flowering ornamental shrub i prune after its flowered. Anything like a holly, burning bush etc that has mostly leaves and no flowers, i prune back in late fall and sometimes late winter/early spring.
  4. Turf Dancer

    Turf Dancer LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 681

    The best rule of thumb I can tell you is if you are unsure then wait till winter ! They are almost all dormant in the winter so therefore you will cause little if any severe stress on them.

    If they are flowering then wait until after they bloom. If they are an evergreen type then anytime other than the heat of the summer is good, if you trim them in the heat of the summer then they have a tendency to turn brown on the edges more.

    Also alot of guys use WD40 on their hedge trimmers, It will cause the cut ends of shrubs to go brown. It is a big appearance issue. Try Vegetable oil instead. Stihl also makes some stuff in a spray can. Check with your dealer it is in their book but not in the brochure.
    Good Luck.
  5. Ad Man Dave

    Ad Man Dave Inactive
    from Kansas
    Messages: 4

    I suppose it will change a little for your climate zone but the rule I've learned is, if it flowers before May 15(Forsythia, flowering quince, spirea) cut it back immediately after flowering because the flowers will form on the previous summers gowth. If it flowers after May 15(Roses, Hibiscus) cut it back in autumn because it will flower on the new years growth.

    I'm not as sure what the answer is for non-flowering bushes.

    Good luck
  6. Chris Wagner

    Chris Wagner LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 252

    On our campus (ground director), we have 146 bushes. We've always used June as the time to cut them back (around the 15th). This is after they have flowered.

    We do the evergreens at the same time, but also touch them up when needed. There are a few other ones with excessive growth that are touched up towards the end of summer or fall.

    Perhaps some pics will help? I can take some tomorrow.
  7. Husker1982

    Husker1982 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 480

    Easy, when she says too!
  8. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,403

    Hopefully just before bikini season starts.
  9. greenman

    greenman LawnSite Addict
    Messages: 1,405

    I usually do my shrub trimming (all shrubs) after the azaleas have bloomed. I trim the azaleas (usually they dont need much), hollies, boxwoods,etc. then freshen up the mulch to cover up what clippings are left after clean up. Then usually once again in the early fall (Sept.)
  10. GarPA

    GarPA LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Messages: 2,585

    For the most part I try to get all trimming done by mid June. Somewhere I read that you can trim most anything up until Labor Day but no later so that new growth at the the cut as time to harden off b4 cold weather. I too have asked this question before here. As noted above you may need to nip here and there later in the summer if you prune now thru midJune.

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