With spring just around the corner, getting out in the garden and pruning those overgrown plants may be on your mind.
Don’t be too hasty, advises Karen “K.C.” Campney, nursery sales manager at Countryside Flower Shop and Nursery, in Crystal Lake. Different plants should be pruned at different times of year.
“It’s important for the health of the plant,” says Campney, who shares the following five tips on pruning:
1. Before you even start to prune anything make sure your tools are very sharp so you can get a good clean cut. Using dull tools leaves a ragged edge, inviting the possibility of insects and diseases.
2. If it has a flower on it prune it right after it flowers. This includes lilacs, rhododendrons, forsythia and related shrubs. Lilacs set their flower buds for next year right after blooming. I tell people they should have their lilacs trimmed by absolutely no later than Fathers Day. You can do a rejuvenation pruning on an old lilac by taking out the old, big stems and leaving the young ones.
3. Shade trees, ornamentals and fruit trees should be pruned in winter (November to March) when they are dormant. Evergreens, pines, spruce, boxwood and yews should be done in spring as they are finishing their new growth, normally toward the end of May.
4. There are three basic types of hydrangeas — the round, globular-shaped mopheads, lacecaps and paniculatas. Any of them can be pruned early spring (March) or late winter, but I personally prefer pruning mop heads in late fall, after the leaves have dropped, around mid-November.
5. Rejuvenation pruning on overgrown dogwood or honeysuckle hedges, viburnum and dentatum varietes should be done in late fall, almost Thanksgiving time.
Campney will present a program on pruning at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 10 at Countryside Nursery. Register early at 815-459-8130.