When to prune is one of the most common questions we get in the Garden Center. Pruning your plant at the right time is the key to a healthy and beautiful plant. Many gardeners think that shrubs must be pruned regularly to remain in good condition. In most cases, that isn’t true. Most shrubs may only need to be trimmed yearly and some not even that. Pruning common shrubs like lilacs, forsythia and burning bush into tight, rounded shapes is unnecessary and isn’t the best for the plants either. Many shrubs do their best when left in their natural form.
Back to when to prune. A couple of blooming shrubs that can be pruned now after they are done flowering are weigela and spireas. If you prune a flowering shrub at the wrong time of the year, the worst you can do is miss out on blooms for a season. The good news is that pruning shrubs at the wrong time of year almost never harms the plant itself. Prune weigela and spirea now to reduce size, maintain the general shape and to remove spent flowers. That should be all the pruning they need for the year!
As a rule of thumb, stray branches can be removed in late summer without worry. Go ahead and cut them back. The plant won’t be damaged by removing a small branch or two.