What is best time to prune 6 specific shrubs?

Asked November 5, 2013, 5:20 PM EST

Best time to prune 1. Lilac bush 2. Oak leaf hydrangea 3. Rose of Sharon 4. Snowball Viburnum 5. Honeysuckle 6. Butterfly bush

None were pruned after blooming. Should I prune now or wait until early spring, March? Thank you.

Howard County Maryland

1 Response

As a general rule of thumb:
* spring blooming shrubs are pruned soon after they bloom. (If you prune before they bloom, you will prune off the flower buds and get no flowers.)
* summer blooming shrubs are pruned in early spring (March is ideal) because they will still have time to form the buds for summer flowers.

Most shrubs do not need yearly pruning, though butterfly bush is customarily pruned each year.

Here is our pruning publication which gives a great general introduction to pruning: http://extension.umd.edu/sites/default/files/_images/programs/hgic/Publications/HG84_Pruning%20ornam... (Mophead hydrangeas are an exception.)

And here is a nice chart that tells when to prune each species of shrubs: http://pubs.ext.vt.edu/430/430-462/430-462_pdf.pdf

(Incidentally, honeysuckle is considered invasive in Maryland. )