Posted on: 28 June 2021
Flowering trees add grace and beauty to a landscape. Proper trimming and pruning are a must to ensure the trees reach their full blooming potential.
New Vs. Old Wood
Flowering trees produce flower buds on either old wood or new wood, depending on the tree variety. New wood flowering trees usually start to bloom in late spring or early summer, typically on buds formed in the early part of spring. Some varieties may continue to bloom repeatedly throughout the entire summer. Hawthorn, crepe myrtle, and hydrangeas are examples that flower on new wood.
Most varieties that flower on old wood are those that are some of the first to flower in spring. This is because they set their flower buds the previous summer and fall. The buds will stay on the tree during the winter and then burst into bloom, often before the leaves even have a chance to appear. Examples of old wood flowering trees include quince, mountain laurel, and rhododendron.
Once you know whether a tree is a new or old wood bloomer, you can decide when to prune. New wood bloomers are best pruned in very late winter or very early spring. The buds should be swelling, but there should be no leaves or flowers yet as the tree is still in dormancy. Dormant pruning reduces shock to these trees and typically won't affect flowering, since no flower buds have yet formed.
Old wood bloomers can't be pruned until after they have flowered, otherwise you will inadvertently prune off all the flower buds before they have a chance to bloom. The best time to prune is after the last blush of flowering but before the tree begins to set new buds for next year.
Don't be afraid to drastically prune if a tree is overgrown. It will often respond to hard pruning by putting out new branches and flower buds for the next year. Just make sure to remove no more than about a quarter of the branches on the tree, as more can shock the plant.
It's also important to keep in mind that although spring pruning can reduce flowering on old wood trees, it won't typically harm the tree. If an overgrown tree needs some shaping done to improve its structure, the dormant late winter period is typically ideal since you can clearly see the branch structure. Shaping at this time may reduce blooms for one year, but the healthier structure will provide even more flowering thereafter.
For more tips about the best time to trim your blooming tree, contact a local tree pruning service to learn more.Share