When you should prune your spirea, and how to prune it correctly

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The first thing to know about when to prune your spirea bush is if you’ve got a spring-blooming or summer-blooming species. You can go by when the flowers bloom, of course, but if you have a young or new plant, you may not be sure — after all, there are over 80 species of spirea. Spring-blooming spirea examples are the Snowmound spirea (Spiraea nipponica), bridalwreath spirea (Spiraea prunifolia), and Vanhoutte spirea (Spiraea x vanhouttei). Summer bloomers include the Blue Kazoo Double Play spirea (Spiraea media) and birchleaf spirea (Spiraea betulifolia).

Spring spirea blossoms on old wood, so pruning too early will prevent flowers from forming. It will benefit from an annual trimor a full renewal pruning, cutting up to ⅓ of any older, bigger branches to the ground every two to three years. When your spring-blooming spirea finishes flowering, go ahead and grab your loppers, focusing on canes that look sickly or dead. This helps your spirea stay healthy and improve its flowers  for next year.

However, summer spirea blooms on new wood, and these shrubs are better trimmed when dormant, preferably in the winter or just as spring is starting. During these times, the pruning cuts on spirea will heal more quickly and help it withstand cold temperatures. Overgrown summer-blooming spirea can handle a rejuvenation pruning, removing all canes to improve future foliage. Regardless of which spirea you have, it’s a plant you shouldn’t be pruning in the fall.

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