Trimming Shrubs in Spring or Fall

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You may have to trim your shrubs in the spring or fall depending on exactly what type of shrubs you're talking about. Learn about trimming shrubs in the spring or fall with help from a landscape designer and horticulture writer in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: Maintaining & Pruning Shrubs
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Marcia Degman the Aspiring Gardener. Today, we're going to talk about whether to prune shrubs in the spring or in the fall. Now the first thing you have to do is decide what it is you're getting from the shrub. This is Callicarpa or beauty berry and what it does is it blooms in summer with some little pink flowers but then later on in the winter it gets really gorgeous, just really bright purple berries, which is the main thing that we plant beauty berries for. So if I were to go in and cut this back a whole lot right now, I lose those berries. So what you have to do is think about when it flowers, when it gets berries and what it is you want from that shrub. So what I'm going to do today might be a little bit of a minor pruning but I don't want to do a lot of pruning until spring on this shrub because I don't want to cut away the berry producing wood. Now here I can see the flowers have ended here so I'm going to get berries heres, but this is just excess growth. So I'm going to go ahead and cut right there and that way I still get my berries in the winter but I can keep it a little bit in check. This is a shrub that just gets a little rangy anyway so you're not going to have a perfect tight little shrub. So any other shrub that you look at, look to see when it flowers, if you're not sure when to prune it, prune it directly after it's done flowering. That's the best, safest way. That way you know its got the whole year to produce that wood that's going to produce flowers or berries for you next year. So that's a good rule of thumb when you're trying to decide whether to do it in the spring or in the fall. Now you can do this maybe both times, as long as you're careful, this would be more of a spring type pruning but then in the fall if I want I can do a minor pruning, as long as I leave the berry producing flowers. So each one is going to bed different depending on its habit. So you have to watch the shrub for a year, see what it's going to do, and follow the flower pattern and you'll know whether to prune in the spring or in the fall.

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