Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Late Winter/Early Spring Prunning Schedule For Southern Ontario

March is an excellent pruning time for many trees and shrubs here in Southern Ontario. Pruning out dead and diseased wood, crossing and overcrowded branches yearly is an excellent way to maintain the health and vigour your favourite trees and shrubs. You may also wish to prune for size and shape as well, to keep them looking their best.

The best time to prune your trees and shrubs will depend upon its flowering, fruiting, and growth habits, as well as its tendency to “bleed”. Since pruning usually stimulates a flush of re-growth temperatures must be mild enough to ensure that this new growth will not damaged by hard frosts.

In reality most plants can be pruned at almost any time of year without jeopardizing basic survival. However, it is preferable to prune specific plants at specific points in the year to avoid excessive "bleeding", sacrificing the seasons flowers, to prevent disease, cankers or other potential problems.

To make your job a little easier I have put together a list of some of the trees and shrubs that can be safely pruned in early winter to late spring.


Late Winter/Early Spring Pruning: (Febuary through April)
  • Arrow-wood
  • Aspen
  • Barberry (or after flowering)
  • Buffaloberry
  • Burning Bush
  • Butternut (or full leaf)
  • Butterfly Bush
  • Chokecherry
  • Coralberry
  • Cork Tree
  • Cotoneaster
  • Cranberry
  • Dogwood (or after flowering)
  • Elder
  • Firs and Douglas-Firs
  • Flowering Raspberry
  • Ginkgo
  • Hackberry
  • Harry Lauder's Walking Stick
  • Hazelnut
  • Holly
  • Honey suckle (or after flowering)
  • Horse Chestnut
  • Hydrangea (Peegee and Smooth)
  • Honey Lotus
  • Linden
  • Mayday
  • Mountain Ash
  • Mullberry
  • Nine Bark (or after flowering)
  • Oak (The University of Minnesota advises pruning oak trees after June to avoid oak wilt disease. They also recommend applying a wound dressing to fresh cuts that are made before June to mask the odour, so that the beetles that spread oak wilt will not be attracted to the trees.)
  • Pincherry
  • Poplar
  • Potentilla (prune as soon as the leaves begin to appear)
  • Raspberry
  • Roses (Hybrid Tea and Grandiflora roses)
  • Sandcherry 'purple leaf' (or after flowering)
  • Smokebush (or after flowering)
  • Snowberry
  • Spirea (pink-flowered summer-blooming varieties only (may alternately be pruned after flowering).
  • Spruces
  • Sumacs (or after flowering)
  • Weigela (or after flowering)
  • Willows
  • Yew (or mid-summer)
  • Walnut (or in full leaf)
Note: It is usually recommended to prune all flowering trees and shrubs, that bloom before June, immediately after flowering. However there are a few varieties that are often grown for their unique leaves or branches rather than for their flowers and these may be pruned in early spring instead. I have include a few of these above.

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