Be careful when you prune Californian lilacs. They need shaping up but might refuse to produce new branches from old wood. Different rules for evergreen and deciduous ceanothus shrubs apply.
Don't be scared of pruning! Done right, pruning can promote new growth and help you keep your plants in the best health possible.
So you’ve decided that you need to do some pruning and are preparing to start snipping away. Done right, pruning can promote new growth and help you keep your plants in the best health possible. However, if you prune plants in the wrong way you can cause damage, allow infection to spread through healthy tissue and kill your beloved specimen.
Know when to prune
Don’t be scared of pruning; it’s an essential part of plant maintenance. And, as long as you do it correctly, you’ll actually end up with a happier and healthy plant.
Meanwhile, if you prune at the wrong time of the year, plants can bleed sap and become open to disease. Check our plant database to learn when to prune yours.
Make a clean cut
One of the most important things to take care of when you’re pruning is to ensure clean cuts at all times. Torn bark and ripped stems can reduce the time that it takes plants to heal, allowing for infection and disease to enter healthy tissue. If you do accidentally tear the bark or split the stem when pruning, simply cut farther back on the branch to ensure a clean cut. This is how:
- Trace your finger back to a healthy bud.
- Only cut above the bud. Cutting behind a bud will cause healthy tissue to die.
- Use sharp secateurs or loppers to make an angular cut to ensure that water droplets run off stems.