Pruning Shrubs

All landscape shrubs need pruning to make them fit their purpose in the landscape. Pruning often rejuvenates a plant. Older plants are pruned to remove plants. Prune after they have bloomed, but before new growth begins. Remove individual branches at a point within the plant–never shear a camellia. Pruning cuts over ¼ inch in diameter should be covered with a good wound dressing to prevent disease entrance.

Some thinning of branches may be desirable on plants with dense growth. Heavily shaded limbs produce few flowers, and often harbor scale and other insects. Thinning makes insect and disease control easier. It opens up plant to expose more leaves to light, producing a healthy plant. Sasanqua camellias usually produces blooms in clusters rather than single blooms. It's good to prune back quite a bit after it has finished flowering. Camellias may set flower buds in June, so one pruning of sasanquas is enough. Late summer pruning increases your chance of removing flower buds. Camellia japonicas may need some pruning before they begin blooming.

Azaleas often escape pruning year after year. However, a light pruning gives better-shaped plants and larger clusters of blooms. This is particularly true of dwarf azaleas.

Vines should be pruned to allow more light into the center of growth, and to remove dead, diseased and injured growth. It's best to prune vines just as they complete blooming to avoid cutting off flower buds with later pruning.

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