There are very few hard and fast rules when it comes to pruning the plants in your garden. About the only really iron clad rule is to learn when the best time to prune the various types of plants that you may have in and around your home. Surprisingly, when it is the best time to prune one kind of plant isn't always the best time to prune another. While not particularly difficult, figuring out the best times for pruning does require a little bit of home work.
- Trees. Despite the fact that there are many different kinds of trees in the world, typically most trees should be pruned around the same time. The best time for pruning your trees will usually be in the late winter, or very early spring. This means that for the northern hemisphere, this will typically be around February to early March. Keep in mind though, that if you find your tree showing signs of becoming disease ridden, damaged, or infested with insects, then you need to do some pruning to help out.
- Shrubs. As long as you are only doing some light pruning, you can prune your shrubs all year round. For the heavier pruning though, this should generally be done during the late winter to early spring, as with a tree. That being said, the optimal time for pruning any flowering shrub should be based solely upon the time that the flowers begin to show. For example, any spring time flowering shrubs should be pruned after the flowers have already begun to fade in the spring time.
- Flowers. For the most part there is only one type of flower that you will need to worry about pruning, and that is the perennial. These are the flowers that come back year after year, and great care should be taken when pruning them. It is particularly easy to damage a perennial if you are not careful. The best time to prune these types of flowers will be in the early to mid spring time. That way you do not expose the flowers unnecessarily to the damaging cold that comes with winter.
- Vegetables. When pruning vegetables, it should only be done on a case by case basis. Usually you will only prune vegetables in an attempt to grow truly spectacular specimens. For example, if you are trying to grow prize winning pumpkins, squash, or tomatoes then you would get rid of the first few early bloomers. This will allow the plant to focus more of its energy towards the later fruits which will be more likely to succeed.