Spring Flowering Shrubs – Now and Then

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One of the true joys of the well-balanced, diversified landscape are the spring flowering and summer flowering shrubs.  Now is the time when we can enjoy the spring flowering shrubs such as  dogwood, viburnum, lilac, cotoneaster and forsythia.  The good part is that there are many cultivars or varieties of these spring blooming species to explore and consider for the landscape.

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These plants will continue to be assets as long as they are well placed and pruned correctly.  What does it mean to prune them correctly?  This is best defined as what NOT to do – and that’s shearing.  This is best illustrated by the photo shown below.  This depicts dead growth, a wide, unwieldy top and crowded and thin stems at the base.

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Instead of shearing, the key to success is thinning, removing stems at the base of the plant, as shown in the other photos.  So, plan to prune – mark it on your calendar to prune them when the finish blooming and you’ll have great shrubs for many years to come.

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John Fech
Horticulture Extension Educator at Nebraska Extension
John Fech is a horticulturist with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and certified arborist with the International Society of Arboriculture. The author of 2 books and over 200 popular and trade journal articles, he focuses his time on teaching effective landscape maintenance techniques, water conservation, diagnosing turf and ornamental problems and encouraging effective bilingual communication in the green industry. He works extensively with the media to extend the message of landscape sustainability, making over 100 television and radio appearances each year.
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