To cut, or not to cut????

joycekhMay 3, 2012

Every year, we cut our stems in the early spring, right down, as all my plants bloom on new wood. We just came back from 3 weeks south, and found that all the old wood (we hadn't cut yet) was budding, plus signs of new growth at the ground. What do I do.... leave the old wood alone, or cut back and let the new growth come up????


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I forgot to say that I have (5) Annabelles, and ( 8)Endless Summer varieties.....

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 11:23AM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

I can only comment on the Annabelles--there is nothing for you to worry about. I rarely do anything at all to mine (except to water them occasionally and prop them up when the blooms get too heavy). I usually wait a bit to see what wants to produce leaves and what does not. Then I prune out any obviously dead stuff--you know, brown/tan canes with no green growth coming from them.

That's all I do. Annabelle does all the rest--most beautifully!


    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 9:49AM
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springwood_gardens(6B Pittsburgh)

Ultimately it depends on what size you want the plant to be. In zones like 5, it seems hard for an ES to grow more than 2.5 feet from the ground in one season. So if you want to get the full 4x4 mature size out of an ES I'd suggest only prune back whatever leafless stems there are by mid-late May ONLY. Also, focus pruning on leggy, crossed, or "wavy" ones first and leave the thicker upright canes.

Arborescens seem a little less affected by pruning, as they can grow back to max height in one season from almost any pruned height (supposedly).

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 4:48PM
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Endless summer blooms on new and old wood so you are limiting the blooms by pruning out the old wood.

As said above, take out what is still dead looking around late May only.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 3:59AM
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