Tuesday, March 31, 2015

How to Determie When to Trim your Flowering Shrubs

So if you have flowering bushes in your landscaping you have probably at least once trimmed them back, watered them, babied them, etc. but you didn't get any blooms.
After that you quickly learn that there is a right time and a wrong time to cut back your flowering plants.
After going through this one time you may be scared to trim them back again so then the plant gets over grown and looks bad.
Has any of this ever happened to you?
Well today I am going to show you something that will help you  determine when you should trim your flowering bushes.
One of the most important thing to know about your plant is whether or not it grows on old wood or new wood.
Say what? Old wood? What does that mean?
Well, it means some flowering bushes like the Spirea grow off of old wood, or in other words, it grows new buds on last year's stems.
Here is an example of my Spirea that is just now starting to bloom.
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Because it grows new growth on old wood, you want to make sure you trim it/cut it back after it has died back in the fall or winter, BEFORE it begins blooming again for the new season.
You can see in my pictures that the branches have been trimmed back already. I usually trim mine between November and January, so come late February or early March when things start waking up I don't cut off the flower buds.
Also my Spirea doesn't have to spend its energy going all the way up a long stem to create new buds since the limbs have bee trimmed low.
I help it out by cutting it back so when it starts growing in the Spring, the plant can use its energy to create new flower buds.
If you find that your flowering shrubs just aren't flowering very much anymore, they may need to be trimmed to spark new growth.

So here it is now at the end of March,

and by June it will look like this:

Last year I had my Rose of Sharon trimmed along with my large Elm tree.
Remember when I mentioned above that if you're bushes are not producing a lot of flowers that it might need to be trimmed...welllll.........I know this from experience.
My Rose of Sharon bushes taught me this lesson.
Here they are WAY over grown-touching the power lines and in dire need of a trim:
So here they are trimmed down to about 5-6 feet.
 These were trimmed last  year but this winter I took them down another foot! Man they grow fast!

But as you can see, there are buds all over these things, but they are not blooming at the top of the bush on a new stem, no, they are blooming on the OLD wood from last year.

Here are a couple pictures of blooms on the large center branches:

And here is how they will look in full bloom later this Summer.


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So in order to know the best time to trim or cut back your flowering bushes, you first need to know how it grows.
Here is your rule of thumb:
If it flowers in spring prune after flowering; if it flowers later in the year prune in February
So before you start trimming your flowers this Spring, remember that If it grows on OLD WOOD (last year's stems) then you need to trim your plant BEFORE it begins growing for the new season, and if its too late this year, no problem
Just trim it AFTER it blooms.
This will keep your plant healthy and ensure more flowers!
To see pictures of the rest of my yard click HERE

Happy Spring!


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