By Phran Novelli

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Warmer weather in March and April changed a lot of things about our gardens this year. It wasn’t just spectacular to see so much stuff blooming so soon, an accelerated spring can also mean earlier pruning.

Lots of shrubs that normally flower in late May or June finished up weeks in advance, so if you’re in the habit of waiting to cut your lilacs back until school is out, or trimming your azaleas by the Fourth of July; instead of looking at the calendar, take a look at your plants to see what they need.

Since many flowering shrubs, like lilacs, set their buds for next year quite quickly after their flowers are finished, if you wait too long, you’ll be cutting off lots of next year’s pretty flowers when you prune your plants. But it also depends on the shrub – warm as it was, my old azaleas seemed to bloom at pretty much their regular time this year anyway.

See for yourself – walk around your yard to check out your spring flowering shrubs up close to see if they’re setting buds so you’ll know for sure whether you need to prune them sooner rather than later this year.

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