Early spring is the perfect time to prune roses and other summer-blooming shrubs, and still a great time to prune evergreen trees and shrubs. Here are the best 20 videos we’ve found to show you how. First, some tips and caveats:
- Early spring is NOT the time to prune spring-flowering shrubs. Wait until they’ve finished blooming and learn how to prune them correctly.
- To learn more about pruning particular plants, search using the terms site:.edu to find answers from universities. (E.g., put site:.edu prune shrubs in the Google box.)
- We recommend NOT watching any videos about pruning (or gardening, actually) by eHow. YouTube’s search algorithm seems to favor them, no matter how inaccurate they are.
Clockwise from upper left, pruning experts Joe Lamp’l, Dave Epstein, Marjorie Peronto, Kim Todd, Steve Aitken and Steve Hutton
INTRODUCTION TO PRUNING
“HOW TO PRUNE TREES AND SHRUBS” is a terrific, easy-to-understand introduction to pruning, including the timing (old wood/new wood), how to make cuts, and more. By Joe Lamp’l (of PBS’s Growing a Greener World.”)
“HOW TO PRUNE ROSES” is a good introduction for beginners and regular home gardeners from a Jackson and Perkins rosarian Paul Zimmerman. Includes climbing roses.
“HOW TO PRUNE SHRUB ROSES” is by Nebraska Extension horticulturist Kim Todd.
“HOW TO PRUNE SHRUB ROSES” shows Fine Gardening Magazine editor Steve Aitken getting coached by an expert at Tower Hill Botanic Garden.
“HOW TO PRUNE A KNOCKOUT ROSE” demonstrates the seemingly brutal hacking back of a Knockout by the president of Star Roses. Done in 30 seconds!
“HOW TO PRUNE A FLOWER CARPET ROSE” applies equally to Knockouts and other shrub/landscape roses. Includes the importance of cleaning the area and feeding the plants. By Dave Epstein of Growing Wisdom.
“HOW TO PRUNE ROSES IN CALIFORNIA” is by Bay Area designer Rebecca Sweet. She shows how to force the rose into hibernation where it’s not cold enough to do it naturally.
HIBISCUS, BUDDLEIA, LATER-BLOOMING SPIREA
“HOW TO PRUNE ROSE OF SHARON (HIBISCUS)” demonstrates the dormant pruning of an overgrown Rose of Sharon. By John Holden, the Connecticut landscaper at Land Designs.
“HOW TO PRUNE A BUTTERFLY BUSH” explains the why and how (and warns about the shrub’s invasiveness in some parts of the country). By horticulturist Dave Epstein of Growing Wisdom.
“HOW TO PRUNE A SUMMER-BLOOMING SPIREA” clearly explains the different types of spirea and demonstrates hard-pruning of a summer-bloomer (S. bumalda). By national landscaping company BrightView. (For early-blooming white spireas, wait until the blooms are fading and follow these videos.)
“HOW TO RENEWAL PRUNE SPIREA” demonstrates renewal pruning for ‘Little Princess,’ and includes a link to see the results the following July. Also appropriate for these varieties: ‘Watereri’, ‘Gold Mound’, ‘Alpina’ and ‘Magic Carpet’. Another video by John Holden of Land Designs.
“HOW TO PRUNE HYDRANGEA PANICULATA” (PeeGee) was filmed in late November but it’s perfect for early spring, too. By Surfing Hydrangea, a nursery on Nantucket.
“HOW TO PRUNE HYDRANGEA PANICULATA” also covers the topic well. By First Edition Plants. a U.S. company.
“HOW TO PRUNE CREPE MYRTLES” starts with a rant about “crepe murder,” the too-common practice of topping them off. Video by Steve Bender for Southern Living Magazine.
“HOW TO PRUNE CREPE MYRTLES” includes great close-ups of cuts. It’s by PBS’s Central Texas Gardener, with expert Trisha Shirey.
CRABAPPLES, JUNIPERS AND BOXWOODS
“HOW TO PRUNE CRABAPPLE TREES” by University of Maine Extension horticulturist Marjorie Peronto.
“HOW TO PRUNE CRABAPPLES” with a horticulturist at the Tower Hill Botanic Garden, for Fine Gardening Magazine.
“HOW TO PRUNE JUNIPERS” demonstrates “tip pruning,” admonishing viewers to do a little over several years, and never shear! By the University of Wyoming Extension.
“HOW TO PRUNE BOXWOODS” demonstrates hand pruning over time, not shearing, and recommends treating too-tall Nandinas the same way. By Mark Viette of Viette Nurseries in Virginia.