As you prune your trees and shrubs in late winter and spring, remember to restrain yourself from trimming your springtime bloomers. The flower buds on dogwoods, azaleas, rhododendrons, camellias (Japonica), and just about every springtime plant in your garden are already set and waiting to bloom when the weather warms up next year.
Pruning these plants in the fall will deprive you of the symphony of springtime blooms waiting for you. If you must trim now, prune out diseased or dead branches only. Once the flowers on the springtime bloomers have died back, then you can trim and prune to your heart’s content. You will have several weeks to accomplish this task.
Have a goal in mind before you prune. After removing the diseased and dead branches, you can thin out overgrown plants, open up the interior of the plant to allow better light access, and reshape the plant to maintain the desired size and form. Make sure your pruning and lopping shears and saws are sharp to create a clean cut.
Remember to resist the urge to prune spring bloomers until after they have bloomed so you will have a glorious spring with beautiful flowers on these trees and shrubs.