Tag Archive for: pruning

How to Cut Back Spring Bulbs and Foliage

As your spring flowers begin to die off and foliage begins to droop and yellow, it’s time to take action! Follow our advice to trim these plants properly so your bulbs will produce gorgeous flowers for you again in the fall.  


When flowers are spent, holding the flower stem firm, cut the stalk as close to the base as you can and remove.  


When flowers are spent, holding the flower stem firm, cut the stem as close to the second leaf as you can. 

For both tulips and hyacinth, be sure to leave the remaining foliage up until it yellows. That is how the bulb makes nutrients for next year’s flowers.  After foliage yellows, you can pull, rake, or cut it off and dispose.


Daffodils are a little different than tulips and hyacinth.  There are many late blooming varieties, they often grow in large clumps, and sometimes the foliage will stay green well into June.  As the flowers die and the foliage starts to flop or interfere with spring planting, you can cut the foliage back to make it more attractive, while still leaving enough for the plant to store nutrients in its bulbs to flower next year.

Gather the leaves in your hands and cut straight across leaving 6”-8” of the foliage still standing. Your clumps will look nice and tidy and you can plant around them without interference.

Just like with your tulips and hyacinths, wait until leaves have yellowed before fully removing them. 

Pro Tip!  Consider interplanting your bulbs with perennials.  As the bulbs fade, the perennials grow and hide the dying foliage, leaving you with less work! 

Dividing & Transplanting

If you want to relocate your spring bulbs or if you notice they are not blooming well, you can divide and transplant them. It is best to wait until the foliage starts to die back so that the bulbs have time to store nutrients from the plant. 

When you transplant your spring bulbs, add a little bone meal or bulb fertilizer to give them a boost as they root in and prepare for next year. Be sure to give them a good watering and then wait for some gorgeous flowers in fall!

Note: Tulips do not typically have the longevity in Wisconsin that daffodils do, so over time it might just be best to replant with new ones.  

It’s always a great idea to get expert help with your landscaping. Get in touch today to schedule an appointment for new design/construction or to inquire about our maintenance programs.

How Do I Prune Hydrangeas?

“How do I prune hydrangeas” sounds like a simple question, right? But, to do it correctly, this question needs to be tackled in three parts.  We first have to answer:

What kind of hydrangea do you have?

When is the right time to prune the type of hydrangea you have?

What is the best way to prune your hydrangea?

Identifying Hydrangeas

There are SIX different species of hydrangea commonly found in gardens and to know when and how to prune them correctly, you’ll need to determine which type you have.  The species will let us know if it blooms on new or old wood, which is critical information to have before getting your pruning shears out. Lop off the buds and you will risk having a subpar showing of flowers in spring! You can identify your hydrangea species through the flowering and leaf pattern.

Identifying Hydrangea Species and Types

When to Prune Hydrangeas

Once you have successfully identified the type of hydrangea you have, you need to know whether it blooms on new or old wood. This information will guide the timing of your pruning.

New growth: Shrubs that bloom on new growth should be pruned in late fall once the plants have gone dormant or in early spring before new growth has started. This will maximize the amount of new growth and the number of flowers your shrub produces.

Hydrangeas that bloom on new wood:

  • Smooth hydrangeas
  • Panicle hydrangeas

Old growth: Shrubs that bloom on old growth, should be pruned immediately after their flowers have faded. This gives the plant plenty of time to develop wood that will be “old” by the time the next season’s flower buds emerge.

PRO TIP: Most experts agree that hydrangeas that bloom on old wood do not need aggressive pruning. Rather, you should aim to prune only when needing to shape or maintain their size.

Hydrangeas that bloom on old wood:

  • Oakleaf hydrangeas
  • Bigleaf hydrangeas
  • Mountain hydrangeas

When to Prune Hydrangeas

How to Prune Hydrangeas

In general, flowering woody shrubs that bloom on new wood thrive on somewhat aggressive pruning, while those that bloom on old wood require more careful restrained pruning. Hydrangeas are no exception.

The two species that bloom on new wood—panicle and smooth hydrangeas—do well with an aggressive annual pruning that removes as much as one-third of the shrub. So, for example, if your hydrangea is six feet tall, you can safely prune as much as two feet off the top and sides. Be wary of pruning more than 30% of the shrub to avoid removing too much of its framework needed to keep it upright. For best results, prune back stems to just above (1/4”) a fat bud or a healthy set of leaves.

We have experts on our team who know exactly when and how to prune your shrubs to keep them healthy and producing beautiful foliage and flowers. Call (262) 252-4260 or complete a contact form here.