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By Phran Novelli

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Gardeners like to use the 4th of July as a reminder for some stuff you shouldn’t wait much longer to do, such as pruning spring flowering shrubs. Azaleas, rhododendrons, forsythia, viburnums and certainly lilacs, should be pruned soon after they bloom, and not much later than about now, because they make buds this summer for spring. So if you prune them in August, you’ll cut off most of next year’s flowers!

Perennials can use some attention too, this is a time to shear dianthus deadheads and any browning yarrow blooms for a cleaner look and to encourage a second flower flush. Cut daylily and hosta flower stems off to tidy up those plants. And, you can pinch back mums one last time too, to encourage more blooms and create compact plants which will help keep them from flopping over when they bloom in the fall – and that’s true for asters too.

Since plants don’t keep a calendar – and this year many bloomed very late – don’t fixate on July 4th as an exact date. But on the other hand don’t wait.

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