With Valentine’s Day being tomorrow, a subject on everyone’s mind is trimming. Perhaps ‘everyone’ is overstating it. No doubt, many hopeless romantics are thinking about the state of their shrubbery. It is possible, as a direct result of Valentine's Day approaching, someone has started pondering pruning. I have to believe, that out there somewhere, someone with love in their heart, has a need to trim. Okay, maybe it's just me, but this much is true: We are all about to go stir-crazy. Trimming will help. There is something about wacking a hedge back that does a soul good. Warning: This is an extremely powerful aphrodisiac; proceed carefully!
First on my list is liriope. I have a bed of Monroe White Liriope, about 500 plants that must be trimmed now (by the way, I use my lawnmower). What makes trimming monkey grass important is timing. It is important to complete the task prior to new growth emergence. Even if you only have a few, it is much easier to do now. It's also a good time to cut any other ornamental grasses you have. Re-mulching is much more easily done before the plants begin to sprout as well. For weed control, remember to apply pre-emergent herbicide before mulching…the herbicide is more effective when it makes direct contact with the soil.
Certainly you can prune broadleaf and conifers alike now. There’s no real rush though. If you have a really large holly that has grown completely out-of-hand, or has been damaged by the cold, this is the time of year to take it back hard. Make sure you have a good pair of loppers (long handled pruners) and a saw to get the job done easily. It is important to remember that conifers do not respond well to such harsh pruning techniques. If you cut any needled plant back beyond the needles, it will likely not flush out new growth, or it will be spotty at best.