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Bret-Mar Landscape is the leading design and build company in the Chicago-land area.

Have you had trouble with some of your plants not flowering? Well the problem may be that the tree or shrub is pruned at the wrong time of year. Every plant will set its flower buds at a different time of the year so it is important that a knowledgeable person is caring for your plants. Most shrubs or trees that flower in early spring set their buds on old wood. This means that the flower buds are set the previous year in late summer. Plants that flower in summer set their buds on the current year’s wood. This means that a majority of the buds are set on the new growth from the spring season. It is always best to trim plants immediately after the flowering has finished. However, this is not a realistic schedule for everyone. Most people prune three times a year. This would take place in spring, middle of summer, and fall. This schedule is just fine as long as special care is noted for each plant. See a list below of just a few plants in these categories.

Red Knockout Rose

Old Wood:

  • Lilacs
  • Forsythia
  • Mockorange
  • Magnolia
  • Red bud
  • Honeysuckle
  • Azalea/Rhododendron
  • Viburnum

Current Year’s Wood:

  • Hydrangea
  • Rose
  • Spirea

Spring: Trim plants that have already flowered on old wood. Trim plants that have not set buds on current year’s wood.

Summer: Trim old wood flowering plants that were still flowering during spring trim. (Okay to do this as long as it is before 1st of July) Trim summer plants that have finished flowering.

Fall: Don’t touch the plants that flower on old wood. Trim remaining current year’s wood plants as long as they have flowered already.