Herself's Houston Garden

Conservation through cultivation

It’s time to start the pruning




The purpose of pruning your plants is to clear out old debri and to gently shape your plant. The best time to prune in the Houston area is between Valentines Day and the end of February. Another excellent time to prune a plant is just after it’s finished flowering for the year. Many plants will need more than one pruning a year and that is fine also.

If you prune your plants in the late fall they will get tender new growth just in time for the winter. The new growth is what is most severely damaged by frost and cold so pruning should be avoided in the late fall if possible. However if you have some plants you wish to dwarf or bonsai pruning them late fall will accomplish this. Then just continue to trim off the new growth.

Pruning is a great time to start new plants. Take the branches you have pruned off your shrubs and clear the bottom 6″ of leaves. Dip the bottom of the stem in rooting hormone and stick it in the ground. This works best with your late winter and early spring trimmings. In the spring you should see new growth.

It is best not to prune new trees or shrubs for at least one year. On new trees leave the bottom branches on the tree until the branches reach about 1″ in diameter. This helps the trunk grow properly and strong.

And do try not to contribute to the yearly Texas Crepe Massacre, which takes place every Feb. Your crepes will do just fine with minimal pruning. Cut nothing off your crepe that is thicker than your finger.

To prune:
-Remove all dead branches and leaves

– Next remove any branches that rub against each other or are likely to do so this year

– Step back with a cup of coffee and look for a while at your plant. What shape do you want to encourage? Take your time and think about it.

-Cut to shape but cut about half way down on branches that are too tall. Don’t just cut the top where you want the plant to stop growing. What will happen is the top will get bushy, the bottom will lose leaves and you’ll end with a mushroom shaped plant. Remember you need to let light into all parts of the plant. Don’t block the bottom part of the plant with the top, in other words don’t prune so your plants are top heavy.

See also:
Time to prune the roses
Pruning passion flower vine
Crepe Myrtle