Pruning Early-Flowering Shrubs

Eager shrubs that flower in early summer should be trimmed when blooms fade. Follow these simple steps to inspire new blossoms.

Hydrangea paniculata ~Grandiflora~ (04) Bloom

Hydrangea paniculata ~Grandiflora~ (04) Bloom

Hydrangea paniculata ~Grandiflora~ (04)

Materials Needed

  • sharp pruners
  • pruning saw

Step 1: Prune Shrub

Begin Pruning Once Hydrangea Blooms

Begin Pruning Once Hydrangea Blooms

Hydrangea that bloom on old growth should only be pruned after flowering. To reduce the risk of removing any newly forming buds, prune just as the flowers begin to fade.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Once the blooms on early-flowering shrubs finish in early spring, begin pruning the shrub.

Step 2: Remove Damaged Wood

Use Pruners and Cut Back to Healthy Stem Growth

Use Pruners and Cut Back to Healthy Stem Growth

Cut back to healthy stems using pruners. Remove all dead and diseased stems.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Using a sharp pair of pruners, begin by removing dead, diseased, and damaged wood, cutting back to healthy growth and stem joints.

Step 3: Reduce Stems

Prune Out Oldest Wood All Over Plant

Prune Out Oldest Wood All Over Plant

When a shrub gets old and woody, it can produce smaller blooms. Regular removal of a few of the oldest canes at the soil line can keep the shrub vigorous, producing large and abundant flowers.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Cut out up to one-fifth of the oldest wood all over the plant, reducing stems to within 2–3 inches (5–8 cm) of the ground. It is easiest to do this with a pruning saw.

Step 4: Remove Weak Growth

Prune for Well Balanced Shrub with Open Center

Prune for Well Balanced Shrub with Open Center

Remove any weak or twiggy growth, cutting out branches that cross each other, creating a well balanced shrub with an open center.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Remove any weak or twiggy growth too, and cut out any crossing or straggling stems to create a well-balanced shrub with an open center.

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