Steve Bender

Put down the pruners. 

With so many people stupidly hacking back their crepe myrtles into ugly stumps at the moment, their neighbors might assume that it’s OK to prune every other tree and shrub now. Naturally, they would be terribly wrong. That’s why generations of Grumpy’s readers are the most fortunate gardeners on Earth. They know they can count on the Grumpmeister to tell them the right time to prune everything, except for a sibling’s body part. It’s never the right time for that!

The biggest factor in determining if it’s proper to prune a woody plant now is knowing two things. First, does it bloom in spring? Second, does it bloom on last year’s growth? If the answers are “yes,” then now is a bad time to prune, because doing so will remove most of the flower buds and you’ll get few if any flowers. Therefore, DO NOT prune the following trees, shrubs, and vines until after they finish blooming this spring.

Trees
Catalpa, common camellia, flowering crabapple, flowering cherry, flowering dogwood, flowering peach, flowering pear, flowering plum, fringe tree, goldenchain tree, hawthorn, horse chestnut, Japanese magnolia, red buckeye, redbud, serviceberry, silver bell, snowbell, Texas mountain laurel

Shrubs
Azaleas and rhododendrons, banana shrub, climbing roses, daphne, deutzia, flowering almond, flowering quince, forsythia, French hydrangea (except reblooming types), Indian hawthorn, Japanese andromeda, Japanese kerria, lilac, mahonia, mock orange, mountain laurel, oakleaf hydrangea, oleander, paper bush, pearl bush, spirea, viburnum, weigela, winter hazel, witch hazel

Vines
Armand clematis, Carolina jessamine, climbing hydrangea, cross vine, trumpet honeysuckle, wisteria

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