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Pruning Evergreens

When Is The Right Time To Prune My Evergreens?
By Jay Mclaren


It is hard to believe, but the growing season is almost coming to an end. Most plants have experienced rapid growth through the early part of the spring, and by the time hot summer weather hits, growth is finishing and plants are beginning to harden for winter. This is also true for evergreens, so now is the right time to prune. They have finished most of their season's growth and tend to look shabby. It is a matter now of shearing or hand clipping the extra growth off of the plant. This pruning process accomplishes two things. It makes the plant look better, and helps to maintain the size and shape of the plant.

For upright evergreens, prune so that the top point is rounded or pointed. This helps to shed off winter snow. Then prune down all sides evenly creating a wider base than the top. This allows even distribution of sunlight and better all-round growth. Do not prune tightly into the trunk at the base. Rather follow an imaginary line down the side of the evergreen to the ground pruning anything off outside of that line.

For spreading junipers, the use of a hand clipper rather than a shear will help to maintain the natural spreading habit. These plants do not do well if sheared in rounded shapes. Control the size of spreading junipers by going inward on branches and removing main pieces of branches down inside. This will generate new growth within and keep the plant to a smaller size.

For globes, prune rounded from the top down so the snow will not stay on top and follow the same principal for base pruning. Rather than pruning to within the base, prune straight down to the ground. The plants will look better and not have that laggy look at the base.

By doing this pruning now, the plants will respond with a very light new growth, which will keep them looking healthy and fresh year round.

Evergreens that have been pruned very early probably need it again now. Evergreens that are pruned late in the fall do not have proper buds developed for next year's growth.