When & How to Prune

Can you please help with advice about HOW and WHEN to prune the following plants? Hydrangea Lilac Forsythia Rose of Sharon I've heard terms like, blooms only on ""new wood"" (hydrangea); or prune in early spring (rose of sharon) or just after blooming (lilac); or when they go dormant in the fall before the first frost ... Would really like to know or be told of a good resource. Many thanks.
Submitted by BHGPhotoContest

The early spring bloomers: lilac and forsythia should be pruned only in late spring or early summer, just after they bloom. Pruning later in the year removes next year's blooms. The exception would be if the plants have become completely overgrown. In that case you can cut them back severely in winter. However, you'll sacrifice the blooms for several years.

As a mid-summer bloomer, rose of Sharon can be pruned during its dormant period in late winter without sacrificing blooms.

Pruning hydrangeas is a bit trickier, because it depends on the type of hydrangea.  You'll find greater detail in our slide show on What to Prune When:


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Submitted by sandra.rhynes