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The best time to prune lilac is late spring -- immediately after they finish blooming. If you prune them later in the growing season or during winter, you'll remove flower buds and decrease the amount of spring bloom.
prune roses just as or before new growth emerges from the canes (cut off the wood that died over the winter. this will promote strong, healthy shoots that will produce lots of blooms. it will also give plants a more open habit (?) which helps them resist diseases like black spot
What to Prune When lilac and forsythia should be pruned late spring - immediately after they finish blooming. Hydrangeas bloom on old wood. Prune these types of hydrangeas before midsummer. If you prune them in winter or early spring, you'll be removing flower buds
I usually wait and buy most of my plants in May because I never know when to start my seeds indoors. This handy little chart lets you know when to start seeds indoors as well as when to plant outdoors.