Time to Summer Prune

Time to prune out the spring’s rose hips to make room for summer rebloom.

Now is the time to start the summer prune. What, you say why prune this time of year? Spring’s growth spurt and subsequent flowering has been overflowing. Late cool temperatures and plenty of rain have brought an abundance of new growth.

The summer prune is important for late summer and early fall success in the garden. Most plants have flowered profusely until now. They can start to look a little tired. The summer prune invigorates and promotes new growth. For reblooming plants like roses and perennials this is good news for late summer and fall. There are all kinds of plants that respond to this season’s prune.

Shrubs that just finished flowering can now be cut back now until around the July 4th time frame. Gardenias that are leggy and full of diseased leaves can be cut back by half or more depending on the desired effect. The new foliage will harden off in plenty of time before November freezes.

Be warned!!!! This does not include azaleas. That window is closed considering they set the buds in June and July for next years March bloom. Any pruning now on azaleas just reduces the flowering for next year.

Here is a list of a few that can be cut back now:
– Shrub roses- The Knockout series responds well to a good pruning in summer. Reduce the stems by half. This will force new growth keeping the plant full and tidy. Pruning the old rose hips keeps the plant looking like it did the first time it flowered this spring.
– Early flowering perennials- Salvias such as Salvia ‘Maraschino’ are starting to look kind of ratty. Most have been flowering their heads off since late February and early March. Long spent flower stems are not that pretty to look at all summer long. Cut them pack by removing half of the length of the stem growth. Always prune at various heights so to promote new growth that helps to keep the plant full instead of having all the growth at one level. Some of the stems will be cut almost to the ground. Daylily foliage that looks yellow or brown can be cut out. They too will reflush with a whole new batch of fresh, green foliage. Lantana responds with a whole new flush of foliage and flowers when pruned by at least half this time of year.
– Late flowering perennials- Plants such as the Swamp Sunflower, Helianthus angustifolius can grow to be 9-10’ tall by October, toppling over other plants. Cut them back by half now and they flower at a much lower height in fall.
– Bulbs- Some bulbs like crinums and the 4th of July Lily, Hymenocallis can get yellowing, damaged leaves this time of year. Whenever they start looking bad, chop the foliage back to the main trunks. They will replace themselves with new, pretty foliage within weeks.

Anything that continues to put out new foliage all summer long can take a prune. Not only will you make the plant look better, but there is less likelihood of diseased foliage spreading the problem around.

Take time now to ensure late season color will continue with a quick summer prune!

Back to News