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how-to-prune

The general rule is to trim items that are dormant or not setting their buds.  Pruning now is less stressful on your plants.

Roses should be trimmed to get rid of older burnt foliage; this will start promoting new spring growth.  Knockouts are a shrub type of rose that love to be cut back and will flush out quickly for early spring. Cut 2/3 in Spring and 1/3 in August.

Fruit trees should be trimmed now also, it is usually good to trim branches out that are approximately the size of your pinkie finger.  Trim any other really small branches that aren’t aiding in fruit production, since most fruit is produced on the larger thick branches. Leave the branches that are 45 degrees or better because these will be better load bearing branches for the fruit.

Azaleas should not be trimmed now, as they are setting their buds for spring blooming.  This doesn’t mean you can’t trim any erratic shoots off your azaleas, just don’t go out and shape them with hedge shears.

Same goes for Hydrangeas.  Unless they are one of the new ever-blooming varieties like Penny Mac or Endless Summer, which can be pruned now. The more dormant stems you leave, the more blooms you will get.

Dormant shade trees can also be pruned.  Any diseased or low limbs can be taken off now.

All trimming/pruning right now should be done with bypass pruners or bypass loppers; these generally produce the cleanest cut on your plants.