Many of the flowering shrubs that we grow are vigorous growers and we want them to look fantastic when it’s time to sell them. The only way that can happen is if we keep them pruned so they look good.
When I’m doing the pruning things get cut back really hard. I mean really hard! But when somebody else does it, if I’m not paying enough attention, they don’t get pruned as hard as they should be and they get lanky and ugly. And we grow in pretty tight quarters so I really like to keep things pruned as much as we can until they get sent off to a new home.
This Anthony Waterer Spirea is a perfect example of a plant that desperately needs pruned. We should have been on this in mid summer and not let it get to this point, but we didn’t. So I patiently waited for the plants to go dormant so we could cut them back as hard as they really need to be cut back.
It’s kinda like hitting the reset button on a plant.
They have so few leaves down low that wouldn’t let Cathy prune them until they were dormant because I wanted to “hit the reset button on them!” A light or mild pruning is not what they need. They need to be cut back hard. Like this . . .
Pretty harsh right?
Remind me to get a photo of this plant in May. You won’t recognize it. It will be awesome, then come June in will be a nice round plant covered with lavender flowers.
Raising plants is like raising kids. A little discipline goes a long way and makes for a better person.
We are in the process of going through the nursery and pruning all of our Hydrangeas, Weigela, Spirea, Potentilla and other plants just like this. Some that are a bit nicer won’t get cut quite as hard, but if they need it, that’s what they are getting.
Mike, can those clippings be used as cuttings?
Yes, yes, yes! Absolutely they can. It’s late fall, almost winter so the wood is very hard and is slower to root, but they will root and you’ll have a ton of new plants! This is how you do hardwood cuttings.
Pruning is something that you do from day one with your rooted cuttings and liners. I can’t stress how important this is from the very moment your cuttings have roots. I did a really good article about this (Hey, I think it’s good.) you need to check it out. In the video on the page I’m a bit frustrated over lack of pruning. Take a peek.
There’s a ton of good information in that article as well.
Questions or comments? Post them below and I’ll check back and answer them.
Excellent post, i surely love this site, keep on it
Mike can you do that with Jasmine plants as well
This time of year (winter) you can prune any plant almost as hard as we did these with the exception of evergreens. Evergreens also need pruning but ideally prune them a little at a time during the growing season.
Is it good to prune spirea now? Mine really need it and here in central Illinois it is still in the high 40’s and 50+ many days. Think we have only had 3 nights below freezing and those scattered. I see many things in my yard that can do with pruning but have been a bit afraid to do so at this time of year.
Now is an excellent time to trim Spirea, ours in pots got trimmed really hard just like you see on this page. Is it too soon? Let’s put it this way, I use the donkey’s https://mikesbackyardnursery.com/2013/11/mike-and-pam-mcgroarty-with-their-miniature-donkeys-finnegan-and-fergus/ water bucket as my gauge. First morning that their water is frozen over that tells me it’s safe to prune just about anything I want to. We start pruning and then switch out the donkey’s water pail to the heated bucket that doesn’t freeze.
Thanks Mike, we still haven’t had frozen water in the animal water tanks. My goodness it is so weird here this year that I haven’t covered my plants with white plastic because afraid they will start budding, lilac and a couple of other shrubs in yard are budding. It looks as though we will be having 40-50’s until after New Years according to weather channel.
It’s not a lot different here, but we did get that freeze. It’s been unseasonably warm since. Not much you can do, just water as needed. Plants are tougher than we give them credit for and they are not in a panic because it’s still warm.