Pruning Schedules

(Question)

Hi there,I have an assortment of shrubs that I’m wondering what sort of pruning schedule, if any, applies. I know that shrubs that bloom on new wood can be done early but how early and just how much should I take off? I always get nervous! Most of them were planted 4 or 5 years ago. Here is a list of the shrubs I have. I’m in Toronto zone 6.Carypopteris “Blue Mist” (it’s very large, bloomed beautifully last year but looks a tad leggy now) Ninebark “Diablo”, Sambucus “Golden Sutherland”, Red Twig Dogwood (this one is huge now, almost 9′ feet tall but had of deep red branches this winter), Smokebush “Golden Spirit”, Pagoda Dogwood (I cut out some cross branches last year, not sure if it even needs pruning this year), Forsythia (I know not to prune until after blooming, but how much should I take off?) ¬†Thanks very much.Published (4,097)

(Answer)

Here’s a rule of thumb for pruning shrubs: Prune spring flower shrubs immediately after blooming. Prune summer blooming shrubs in early spring before growth begins. Then prune to remove spent flowers that have bloomed. Never remove more than 25% of the shrub at one time.

The Toronto Master Gardeners are part of an international organization of master gardeners, so I can point out this very good pruning fact sheet from Oklahoma: https://factsheets.okstate.edu/documents/hla-6409-pruning-ornamental-trees-shrubs-and-vines-2/