Pruning Shrubs At New Home

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Posted by Horticulture Guy - Peter Punzi | Posted in Northeast U.S. Gardeners | Posted on 25-11-2006

Q. It’s my first winter in my new “established” house. Lot’s of free standing bushes which I know all flower in different times of the summer, don’t know what they are but they have become overgrown and I have no idea when to prune them or how much.  There are forsythia, taller then a person and the two other major bush growths are 15 to 20 feet high and I would like to get them down to about 5 ft or so any suggestions, based on the info I have provided?  Thanks Sandy – Vernon CT

Without knowing what the other species of shrubs are it is difficult to tell you how to prune them and what type of pruning (e.g. drastic) they will tolerate. Many shrubs have their own genetic predispositions.  I can say that if they are flowering shrubs and you do not wish to loose a season of blooms you will want to prune early blooming shrubs immediately after they bloom since they bloom on old wood where flower buds form.  Later blooming shrubs have a larger pruning period, which includes the dormant season, since the flowers will develop on new season’s growth.  Your forsythia will take some heavy but judicious pruning.  It flower buds grow on old season growth so take that into consideration when pruning.  I would suggest either finding a book on pruning shrubs or checking out the University of Connecticut’s Home and Garden Education Center website: http://www.ladybug.uconn.edu/ for more information.