This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V18", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
In the North, with the great body of vegetation still shrouded in snow and the usual habiliments of winter, little can be done in this department; but in the Southern States gardening operations will be about commencing actively. Pruning should be completed as soon as possible. Some judgment is required in pruning flowering shrubs, roses, etc., although it is usual to act as if it were one of the most common-place operations. One of the most clumsy of the hands is commonly set with a shears, and he "goes through" the whole place, clipping off everything indiscriminately. Distinction should be made between those flowering shrubs that make a vigorous growth, and those which grow weakly; and between those which flower on the old wood of last year, and those which flower on the new growth of next season, as the effect of pruning is to force a strong and vigorous growth. Those specimens that already grow too strong to flower well, should be only lightly pruned; and, in the same individual, the weakest shoots should be cut in more severely than the stronger ones.
Some things like the Mock Oranges, Lilacs, and others, flower on the wood of last year - to prune these much now, therefore, destroys the flowering: while such as Altheas, which flower on the young wood, cannot be too severely cut in, looking to that operation alone. We give below a full list of the shrubs in most common cultivation, of the different classes.
Ornamental shrubs that flower chiefly from the wood of the preceding year: Snowy Mespilus, Dwarf Almond, the different kinds of Androme-das, Azalias, Kalmias, Rhododendrons, Calycan -thus, Corchorus, Cornelian Cherry and the other Dogwoods; Philadelphuses, Deutzias, Mezereon, Leather-wood, Fothergilla, Golden Bell, Hydrangeas, Itea Virginica, Jasmines, Privet, Upright Fly and Tartarian Honeysuckles, Pyrus japonica; the Missouri and other ornamental currants; most of the early flowering Spiraeas, Dwarf Pavias, Snow Berries, Guelder Rose, Wiegelia rosea, Persian and other Lilacs, Annual Roses.
Shrubs that flower from the present season's growth: Amorpha fruticosa, Ceanothus Americana, Bladder Senna, Coronillas, Burning Bushes, Genistas, Scotch Broom, Althaea; Hypericums, such as Kalmianum, Prolificum, etc.; Green-fringe, Flowering Locusts; the Fall-flowering Spiraeas. Tamarix, Vitex agnis-castus, etc. These lists also embrace the most desirable of ornamental shrubs in cultivation, from which the amateur may select when the planting season arrives.
In pruning roses, the Fall-blooming kinds, which flower on the new growth, may be pruned as severely as we wish - in fact, the " harder " they are cut in the better. In this class are the Noisette, Bourbon, Tea, China, and Hybrid Perpetual, and Perpetual Moss. Without considerable experience it is difficult for the amateur to distinguish these classes. The best way to get over the difficulty is to obtain the catalogues of the principal rose-growers, in which each kind is usually classified. Amateurs should pay more attention to the scientific - if we may so term it -study of the rose, and its classification and general management; no class of flowers is more easily understood, and no one affords so rich a fund of perpetual interest.
Wherever any part of a tree does not grow freely, pruning of such weak growth, at this season, will induce it to push more freely next year. All scars made by pruning off large branches should be painted or tarred over, to keep out the rain. Many fruit trees become hollow, or fall into premature decay, from the rain penetrating through old saw cuts made in pruning. Also, the branches should be cut close to the trunk, so that no dead stumps shall be produced on the tree, and bark will readily grow over. Many persons cut off branches of trees in midsummer, in order that the returning sap may speedily clothe the wound with new bark, but the loss of much foliage in summer injures the tree, and besides, painting the scar removes all danger of rotting at the wound.