Trimming Shrubs in Spring or Fall


Trim shrubs to increase plant health, encourage blooming and maintain shape. While spring is usually the best time to clip hedges, fine-tune your pruning chores according to the bloom time of your shrub.

Early Spring

  • Prune summer blooming shrubs in late winter to early spring, while the plant is still dormant. Hydrangeas, summersweet and butterfly bushes flower on new growth, so an early spring prune promotes lush summer growth and abundant flower buds.

Late Spring

  • Prune spring blooming shrubs including forsythia, azalea and lilac immediately after flowering. This allows the plant to grow through the summer and develop flower buds for next year.


  • Unless a shrub has diseased or damaged branches, do not prune in fall. Pruning encourages new growth that can be damaged by early frosts.

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