Get Pruning People!

Suitable for...

This advice is suitable for deciduous shrubs (losing their leaves in winter) that flower in spring or early summer. Newly planted shrubs only need trimming and shaping.

Overgrown shrubs may need drastic pruning to renovate them. Evergreen shrubs are pruned in a slightly different way.

When to repair lawns

Early-flowering shrubs are pruned after flowering (early summer, depending on the shrub). They usually flower on the previous year’s growth. 

How to prune

Pruning requirements depend on the type of shrub, but all early-flowering shrubs need routine removal of damaged, diseased or dead wood, as follows:

• Cut out any damaged or dead shoots back to their point of origin or to ground level

• Where there are many stems remove some to ground level to keep the bush open and avoid congestion

• Finally take out any weak, spindly or twiggy shoots right to the point of origin or to ground level so the plant concentrates its resources on strong new shoots that will bear the best flowers

Then continue depending on the type of shrub. For convenience, we have divided early-flowering deciduous shrubs into three groups on the basis of timing and type of pruning required:

1. Deciduous shrubs with flowers, young growth

Timing: Prune immediately after flowering

Examples: Flowering currant (Ribes), Forsythia, 

Pruning: Cut back flowered growth to strong young shoots lower down. Each year cut out up to 20 percent of ageing stems to near the base.

2. Deciduous shrubs producing new flowering

Timing: Prune immediately after flowering

Examples: Kerria, Neillia

Pruning: Remove flowered shoots back to vigorous sideshoots. Cut back one in three stems to ground level each year.

3. Decidious shrubs that respond to hard pruning

Timing: Prune immediately after flowering

Examples: Prunus triloba

Pruning: Cut back all the stems to near the base

After pruning, mulch and feed. 

Look out for the following problems when you are pruning;  bacterial canker, bleeding from pruning cuts, bracket fungi, coral spot and verticillium wilt.