It really depends on the time of year as to how you prune deciduous trees. Trees such as dogwoods that have not formed their flower buds for next year yet can be pruned now. You do not want to prune spring flowering trees and sh... Read More
rubs as the buds have already formed. For example, rhododendrons already have their buds for next spring by the middle of June.
As a rule of thumb, if you prune flowering shrubs that flower before July 1st just after the flowers are done, you will give the plant more time to form new buds for next year. Prune those plants that flower July through fall in the spring as they will have time to form new buds before they flower. Rose of Sharon is a good example of a shrub that should be pruned in April.
If you have to prune now because your plant is just too big, it will not damage the plant, however, you run the risk of cutting off some of the flower buds for the following year. Pruning will encourage new growth, so never prune in the fall as you will start new growth that can be damaged by the winter.
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