Tree and Shrub Care

If you are anything like me, I have absolutely no green thumb and need all the help I can get when it comes to plants, trees, and shrubs. My husband and I bought a home in December, so we had no idea what was planted and how the trees looked when in full bloom. Now that Spring is upon us, we are able to get an idea of what needs to be pruned, what we are relocating and what we are going to get rid off. Though since I have no green thumb, I had to research a lot of things; when should we prune, when is it ok to relocate a bush, should I really feed the trees? I have learned a lot and want to share that with you. 

Tree and Shrub Care

When should you prune trees and shrubs?

The timing of pruning depends to a large extent on why you are pruning. Light pruning and the removal of dead wood can be done anytime. Otherwise, here are a few guidelines, an important fact you should know is that individual species differ so you may need to look that up before you start pruning.

Winter Pruning

Pruning when the tree is dormate is the most common. This results in a healthy burst of new growth in the spring and should be used if that is your desired effect. It is best to wait until the coldest part of the winter has passed. Some species, such as Maple, Walnut and Birches may "bleed' when the sap begins to flow. This is not harmful and will stop when the tree leafs out.

Summer Pruning

Typically you prune in the summer to direct the growth by slowing the branches you don't want or to slow the development of a tree or branch, pruning should be done soon after the seasonal growth is complete. The reason for the slowing effect is that you reduce the total leaf surface this reducing the amount of food manufactured and sent to the roots. Another reason to prune in the summer is for corrective purposes. Defective limbs can be seen more easily or limbs that hang down to far under the weight of the leaves 

Pruning Flowering Trees

If you have a tree that blooms in the Spring time the best time to prune is when the flowers have faded. For mid to late summer flowering trees and shrubs, these should be pruned in the winter or early spring. 

When not to Prune

You should never prune in the fall, as decay fungi spread their spores abundantly in the fall and healing of wounds seems to be slower in the fall on cuts. 

When should trees be pruned?

Tree and Shrub Care: Different Needs for Different Trees

All trees and shrubs have different requirements for healthy growth, so they require different nutrients. Before selecting food for your tree, you should consider doing a soil test. Either with an at home soil test kit, you can buy and your local home improvement store, online or by testing the soil with your local extension service. Learn what type of nutrients your type of tree requires and may be lacking based on your soil test. 

When to Feed Trees and Shrubs

Trees and shrubs use a lot of energy in the spring pushing out flowers, leaves and seeds, so they benefit most from plant food during this active period. Feeding your flowering shrubs after they have bloomed will boost more blossoms next year. Your trees and shrubs will tell you if they need to be fed if you know what signs to look for. If your trees and shrubs are developing lots of new shoot growth and leaves they do not require any feeding. But if they are only producing a little new growth are pale and yellow its a sign that its time to feed them.

tree and shrub care-2

If you are starting from scratch with your landscape it is important to have an idea of the look that you are going for. I have made Pinterest my go to, besides getting some gardening books and looking at everyone else's yards to get an idea of what to do. I hope you have been able to take away at least a little something from this. I know throughout my research that I need to have a 80% no fuss yard. For me that will include a lot of different types of shrubs and bushes, designer grass along with perennials. The only thing that I will be planting every year are the flower pots on the deck!

Happy Pruning!

Trish Hodson

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