My lavenders are huge and I want to prune them back to make more room for other plants. When is the best time to do that?
Expert: Thank you for your question. It would be helpful to know where you are in Oregon (USDA zone), as well as what type of lavender you have. The most commonly available are English (L. Augustifolia), French (L. dentata) or Spanish (L. stoechas). Also, how old are they, and have they already bloomed? Thanks!
Questioner: I believe it's an English. They are about 5 years old and have not bloomed yet.
Expert: Thank you! The best time to prune lavender is after all chance of frost has passed, so that would be early March or so. If you prune them now, you’ll prune off this years blooms-in-progress, even though it may have bloomed twice in a season before. I’d also observe that (1) your lavender will try to resume (or exceed) their current size in the future and (2) planting more plants between them may make them all vulnerable to fungal diseases, which happens with inadequate air circulation. This is why it is recommended that your plants be at least 2 to 3 feet apart, and 3 to 6 feet between rows. And, your ‘new’ plants (perennial, I assume) should be planted in the fall. Just some things to consider. Here is a good Colorado Extension article about them. Good luck!
Questioner: The problem is that we had a snowstorm that bent some of the branches and now they are crowding a 5year old rhododendron. The branches are permanently bent over. I want to cut them off.
Expert: Then prune at will! You can now predict consequences!