Summer is just around the corner! As you look out at the plants that adorn your home, you may be concerned that they are in need of a good pruning.
Summer Pruning: 5 Tips for Pruning Your Plants
Wondering if you have the time, knowledge, experience and energy to do the job yourself? Pruning in summer may not be practical for your schedule with summer vacation, work, and activities with the kids occupying your time.
What do you do? Do you invest the time necessary to gain the required knowledge to know which plants to prune during summer? When do you prune and how do you do it properly? Should you just entrust the job of summer pruning to a reliable professional? Here are some pruning basics to help you decide.
1. Know Your Deciduous Plant and Shrubs
A deciduous shrub sheds its leaves annually. Pruning deciduous plants when there are leaves present is not harmful to the plant, and can in fact make it easier to determine what branches are dead and need to go. Here are some common varieties found in the Pacific Northwest:
- Ocean Spray: A large shrub or small tree that does well in full sun and part shade. It blooms during summer.
- Sword Fern: This evergreen fern is best planted in groups. It is the only Pacific Northwest fern that can handle a lot of sun and dry conditions.
- Saskatoon: Considered a large shrub or a small tree, it does well in full sun and partial shade. It has lovely flowers and the colors peak in fall. Be careful not to accidentally clip them if pruning.
- Mock Orange: A large shrub or small tree, it has a fragrant early summer bloom and makes a good informal hedge.
2. Recognize Coniferous Evergreen Shrubs and Trees
Coniferous shrubs and trees bear cones and evergreen leaves that can be pruned without detrimental consequences any time of the year. Coniferous plants are numerous in our area; here are a few of the varieties you might find in the Pacific Northwest:
- Red Flowering Currant: A large shrub tolerant of dry conditions, it does well in both full sun and partial shade.
- Salmonberry: This medium-sized shrub is sparsely thorned and is tolerant of seasonal wet weather. Does well in either full sun or full shade.
- Western Trillium: One of the most widespread varieties of conifers, this small shrub is a herbaceous perennial that tolerates wet conditions along with partial shade and full sun.
- Vine Maple: This large shrub/small tree attracts birds for nesting. Tolerant of wet conditions, it needs part sun and shade to flourish.
- Stream Violet: This herbaceous perennial is the largest native violet to our area. It likes moist soil, partial sun, and full shade.
- Dull Oregon Grape: An evergreen shrub that tolerates wet weather, it makes for good ground cover. The fruits of this shrub are edible if you invest the time required to harvest them.
3. Beautify Summer Flowering Shrubs
Flowering shrubs begin to develop buds during spring, and blossom throughout the summer months. They can be safely pruned after they bloom. Here are a few of the varieties that do well in the Pacific Northwest:
- Bluebeard: With their sky blue colors, these short and aromatic woody shrubs look great during summer. Does well in full sun or partial shade. Prune back 50 percent in fall.
- Pacific Ninebark: This native Pacific Northwest shrub can grow to be rather large if not pruned back. Its white flowers stand out in woodland gardens.
- Rockrose: Though this species is not related to roses, the flowers – ranging in color from white and yellow to purple, pink and red – bloom during the entire summer.
- Butterfly Bush: Butterflies are partial to this purple, flowered shrub that likes full sun. Prune off the dead flower heads to facilitate repeat blooming. Prune back to 30 percent to keep it just right year after year.
4. Fruit Trees
Lest we forget, Pacific Northwest fruit trees can benefit from summer pruning, although experts typically prune them during winter months. Apples, cherries, plums, peaches and pears do well when pruned in the summer, especially if you want to restrict the size of the tree. Pruning is relatively easy as well – if a branch is too long, cut it back.
5. Professional Pruning
If your busy lifestyle leaves no time for you to undertake a summer pruning project, then consider contacting a professional pruning service.
Our professional pruning services at Precision Tree include a free onsite consultation at your home to discuss the shrubs and trees you wish for us to prune. We use sharp and well-maintained hand-clippers, handheld trimmers, and pole saws to give your landscape the well-groomed and aesthetically pleasing look you desire.
Precision Tree Service provides professional tree services to the Snohomish and Skagit County areas along with places surrounding Seattle. Give us a call at (888) 741-5020, or fill out our online contact form today.