Spring pruning

(Question)

Hi there,
I’m writing to you because I have a couple of questions about some flowers/bushes that I am unsure about. My husband and I moved into our new home last August, therefore I’m still unsure about some of the plants in our garden. Going off of the pictures I’ve attached, could you tell me the name and weather or not I cut them back.
Thank you so much
Sara

(Answer)

The key things to remember about pruning any shrub or tree are what to prune, and timing. For any shrub, or tree, branches that are dead, broken or causing severe rubbing on another should be pruned, using a clean, sharp pruner or saw. The clean cut allows the wound to heal, and prevents infection. If you are pruning more than one shrub, keeping the pruners clean using a rag dipped in rubbing alcohol, or a solution of one part bleach to ten parts water. This will ensure no diseases are spread.

Timing is a bit trickier. Some plants shouldn’t be pruned in the spring, as they bloom on old wood. This would be true for forsythia, magnolia and lilac, for example. Other plants can be pruned early, before buds open.

I am looking at the two photos, the first is looks like a rose. Dead branches should be removed, the mulch or soil around the base should be drawn back, and each tiny, skinny branch cut back to the main stem. Winter kill should be pruned back to living wood, to a bud that faces out, not into the bush. This might help you out:

https://www.torontomastergardeners.ca/index.php/factsheet/pruning-roses-a-toronto-master-gardeners-guide/

I am afraid I cannot determine what the other shrub is. The rules are the same, however, remove the dead and broken branches.

Remember, when getting to know your new garden, observe and nurture are key. See what comes up before your dig. See how something grows before you prune. Adding compost is always a good thing to do while you watch what’s coming up in the garden.