By Paul Epsom
It's time to get those shears out and start pruning. While you may think pruning is mostly a late summer/early fall activity – I have news for you – the time is now!
Anytime right around this week you will want to prune back any spring-flowering trees, dogwoods for example, or bushes like azaleas, rhododendrons, forsythia, and lilacs. Don't feel like you need to prune every year—but every two or three years is a good thing.
By now, these trees have likely stopped flowering and soon enough they'll be making new buds for next season - so if you wait too long you will end up cutting off next year's flowers, which you don't want to do.
Begin by pruning off dead or injured branches.
Then prune back tall, gangly limbs shooting out of the top of the bush—this will make for a better-shaped bush for next season.
If you want to add some mulch at this point—make sure it's acidic mulch—like pine straw or pine needles. Since mulch eventually does break down, the acid mulch will help these acid-loving trees through the summer and into the fall.