Pruning Deciduous Plants


Pruning deciduous plants is different than pruning evergreens because most deciduous plants grow faster, and bounce back quicker from heavy pruning. A deciduous plant is a plant that loses it's leaves during the winter.

Pruning is one of the most debated gardening topics of all time, and there are no shortage of experts willing to give pruning advice.

Yeah, I guess that would also include me.

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It's really important that you prune all of your plants, and even more so with deciduous plants. Often times fast growing deciduous plants benefit from heavy pruning when they just seem to be getting out of hand.

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Of course the ideal time to do any kind of heavy pruning is during the winter when the plants are dormant, but if you've been around my website for very long you know that I am an aggressive pruner. Most of the time I follow the rules, but sometimes I just can't stand to look at an overgrown plant any longer and I just hack away no matter what time of the year it is.

Now with that said, Pam and I get a ton of compliments on our landscape and we always have. So there is a benefit to my craziness. My heavily pruned plants look great. While folks that are really apprehensive about pruning, well, their landscapes don't look so great. (hint, hint).

The more you prune any plant the tighter and fuller it grows. Unpruned plants get tall and lanky and you can see right through them. That's why I prune everything aggressively, because I want my plants to look really nice next year and for years to come. I'll show you some examples:

Hakuro Nishiki WillowHakuro Nishiki Willow

The Hakuro Nishiki Willow shown here grows like crazy. Last year by the end of the season this plant had really tall shoots, many them 60" in length. And I pruned it in the middle of the summer! But the plant was also very open and not compact at all. So around mid March I went out and cut this thing down to a stump. I really mean down to a stump.

Look at it now. I took this picture in early July. Look at how much it has grown, and how full it is. Then right after I took that picture I cut it down to a stump again.

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Hakuro Nishiki Willow cut down to a stump.Hakuro Nishiki Willow cut down to a stump.

Why would I do such a crazy thing? Two reasons. One, I wanted to do this web page and shoot a video on deciduous pruning. And two, I had two of these plants in my landscape and I fell in love with a Laceleaf Weeping Japanese Maple that I just have to have and I need to make some room for it. You'll meet that beautiful plant later.

Notice how many leaves the stump has down low even after I butchered the plant? That's because of the heavy pruning I gave it back during the winter. Even though I don't recommend that you do this kind of pruning during the summer, I can assure you this plant is going to bounce right back and hopefully I will be attentive enough to get another picture and post it here.

In the video I show you what happens when you prune a plant, and how the plant responds after pruning. Basically what you'll see is that every where you cut the plant it responds by producing multiple new branches right below where you made your cut. So repeated pruning produces tight, compact plants that look better, and produce more blooms.

Questions? I do my best to answer all questions on my blog...