As Master Gardener, I learned that there is an optimal time to prune trees, bushes and just about anything in the garden. And, like most people, I usually miss that window vowing to do better the next time the window comes around but I never do.
It recently occurred to me that there are a lot of people out there giving gardening advice and, although some of it is pretty much the same, a lot of it depends on the garden and the gardener.
So this morning, with clippers in hand, I went out and pruned my "desperately in need of pruning" roses. It may not have been the most optimal, by the book time to prune but it was the only time I had so I pruned. And, guess what? They'll be fine….. and why shouldn't they be? I prayed over each and every one.
Well, maybe praying is not exactly the right word. Praying implies that I was asking God to spare my roses from bad pruning. It was more like meditating actually, a freeing focus on my task that cleared, quieted and refreshed my mind.
I got as much out of pruning as my roses did. We both got the dead wood cut away and new places were created for fresh spring growth.
Here's the key to pruning regardless of when you do it..... never prune away more than about 1/2 the bush at one time. You can always prune less but never more.
If you cut away more than half the bush at one time, you will without doubt shock the plant and it may well die. Sounds a little like people, doesn't it? Cut away too much of who we are and we will no, doubt die, too.
After you're done pruning, leave the bush alone for 1 growing season. It needs to get itself together. People need to get themselves together, too... hence the happy hour, the weekend get-away and the shopping spree.
Timid about pruning?
Prune a little then stop. Come back another time and see if you want to prune some more. You can spread pruning over weeks. You don't have to commit to anything all at once.
One last thought.... pruning is not cutting blossoms for the vase. Pruning is shaping and molding and getting the bush to fit into its environment. Cutting blossoms for the vase is just taking a little bit off the top.