Spring is here; it's time to prune
Prune spring flowering trees and shrubs after they bloom. The best time to prune is after the last flowers fade but before new buds set in mid to late summer. The end of the dormant season is a good time to prune many trees and shrubs. Cold-damaged shrubs can be pruned back to where new growth appears.
Once azaleas, poinsettias and camellias finish flowering, they should be pruned. Pruning encourages new growth and produces a more compact, bushier plant. (Consult the University of Florida/IFAS Extension publication Azaleas at a Glance, which can be found on the Internet at edis.ifas.ufl.edu/mg019, for more information about azaleas.)
There is still time to prune out dead growth and crossing limbs on crape myrtles, but try not to remove the new sprouts, since the flowers will be forming on this year's new growth. Pruning is not necessary for crape myrtles to flower. Prune lightly to maintain a natural form.
Heavy pruning of hibiscus is best done now. New growth should produce flowers in five to six weeks. Light maintenance pruning may be done at any time of year to keep plants at desired heights.
Compiled by Theresa Badurek, urban horticulture extension agent, UF/IFAS Pinellas County Extension Service. For additional landscape and garden information, visit pinellascountyextension.org. For regular tips and information about what's growing in Pinellas, go to facebook.com/growpinellas.