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Arts Guide to Pruning Deciduous Shrubs

Pruning deciduous shrubs is no longer an arcane practice. Use our handy deciduous shrub pruning guide as a reference when it comes to maintaining the beauty of the deciduous shrubs in your garden. If you have any questions about pruning deciduous shrubs, please feel free to give the Arts Nursery staff a call at 604.882.1201.

Plant Name Objective When How to Prune
Berberis thunbergii
Japanese Barberry
Prune to maintain size and shape. Open the plant to expose the crowded interior early spring Shear if required. Prune selectively to maintain shape and size. pinch tips to encourage bushiness. Cut back one-third of stems each year to renovate.
Buddleia davidii
Butterfly Bush
 Control size and shape late winter or early spring   Flower bloom on new seasons growth. Cut back hard to stimulate new growth
Callicarpa bodnieri
Beautyberry
Encourage winter berry production and control size early spring Plants flower and berry on current years growth. Cut back one-third of stems each year. Remove dead, damaged or diseased branches. Thin shrubs as needed.
Chaenomeles speciosa
Flowering Quince
Encourage flowering and maintain shape. Remove tangled or crossing branches after flowering Blooms on older branches. Remove dead, damaged or diseased branches. Remove a quarter of the oldest branches each year. Remove crossing branches.
Clethra alnifolia
Summersweet
Maintain size and shape late winter or early spring Flowers on this years growth. Remove suckers. Remove about a quarter of the canes each year.
Cornus
Shrub Dogwood
 Encourage new stems. late winter or early spring Most colourful stems appear on younger growth. Cut back at least one-third of stems to the base each year. Heavy pruning is tolerated. Flowers on current seasons wood.
Corylus avellana
Filbert, Hazel, Harry Lauders Walking Stick
Maintain natural branching and shape late winter Cut back suckers. Prune selectively to maintain attractive branching. Remove dead, damaged or diseased wood.
Cotinus coggygria
Smokebush, Smoketree
Maintain an airy open appearance early spring Remove dead, damaged or diseased wood. little pruning is required otherwise except to maintain appearance. Flowers appear on 2-3 year old wood.
Cotoneaster Encourage berries. Maintain natural shape late winter or early spring Cut back sparse branches back to main stem. Remove dead, damaged or diseased wood.
       
Cytisus
Broom
Control legginess. Maintain natural form. after flowering Pinch back new growth to encourage bushiness. Remove dead, damaged or diseased stems. Deadhead after flowering. Do not cut into leafless stems as no new growth will occur.
Deutzia Encourage new growth. after flowering Remove one quarter of canes to the base each year. Rejuvenate every couple of years by cutting the plant back nearly to the base. Flower bloom on last years growth
Euonymus alatus
Burning Bush
Maintain a natural shape and encourage horizontal branching early spring This selectively. Otherwise litle pruning is required. Pinch tips to create an informal look.
Exochorda racemosa
Pearl Bush
Prune to reduce legginess and maintain compact shape after flowering Cut away one quarter of old stems to the ground each year. Remove suckers. Flowers on last years growth
Forsythia x intermedia
Forsythia
Maintain shape and encourage flowering. after flowering Flowers on last years growth. Cut back one-third of stems to the base each year. Remove suckers.
Fothergilla Encourage natural form late winter Pruning rarley required except to maintain size and shape. Remove dead, damaged or diseased wood.
Hamamelis
Witchhazel
Maintain natural vase shape. late spring or summer Prune lightly and selectively to encourage desired shape and size. Remove dead damaged or diseased wood. Remove suckers if present.
Hibiscus syriacus
Rose of Sharon
Encourage new growth and flowers spring Remove dead, damaged or diseased stems. Prune hard in spring to encourage flowers. Thin overgrowth. Blooms on current seasons wood.
Hydrangea macrophylla
Bigleaf Hydrangea
Maintain size and shape. Encourage flowering after flowering Flowers on previous years growth. Prune after flowering, if required. Cut back stems by half. Rejuvenate by cutting back to the ground. May need to prune earlier in season to remove winter damage
Hydrangra arboescens
Smooth Hydrangea
 Maintain size and shape. Encourage flowering late winter   Prune back hard if required.
Hydrangea paniculata
Pannicle Hydrangea
 Maintain size and shape. Encourage flowering early spring  Flowers on this years growth. Remove most of previous years growth if desired
Hydrangea quercifolia
Oakleaf Hydrangea
Maintain size and shape. Encourage flowering late winter Little pruning is generally required. Remove dead, damaged and diseased branches.
Hypericum
St Johns Wort
Encourage new growth and flowering spring Remove weak growth. Flowers on current years growth. Remove one quarter of the stems each year to encourage fresh growth.
Ilex
Deciduous Holly, Winterberry
Control size and shape. Encourage berry production early spring Pruning is generally not required except to limit size and affect shape. If desired, prune back one-third of stems to the ground each year.
Itea virginica
Virginia Sweetspire
Maintain natural shape. Limit size. after flowering Prune as desired to maintain size and shape. Remove dead, damaged and diseased branches.
Kerria japonica
Japanese Kerria
Encourage new growth and flowers after flowering Remove unwanted suckers and dead stems. Remove one-third of flowering shoots to the ground each year
Kolkwitzia amabilis
Beauty Bush
Maintain natural arching form. Prevent legginess after flowering Cut stems that have flowered to the base of the plant. Flowers grow on previous years growth.
Lagestroemia indica
Crape Myrtle
Control shape and encourage flowering spring Remove winter killed branches. Heavy pruning encourages blooming. Flowers on current seasons growth. Remove spent flowers and weak growth in summer.
Philadelphus coronarius
Mock Orange
Encourage new growth and flowers after flowering Remove one-quarter of all stems each year. Remove dead, damaged or diseased stems.
Potentilla fruticosa
Cinquefoil
Maintain tidy appearance, size and shape. Encourage flowering spring Flowers on current years growth. Remove one-third of stems each year.
Rhus typhina
Staghorn Sumac
Control size and shape. Remove suckers early spring Remove dead, damaged, diseased or crossing branches. Remove unwanted suckers at the base. To maintain size, cut back one-quarted of all stems each year to the ground.
Spiraea
Spirea
Maintain natural size and shape. Enhance flowering early spring or after flowering depending on variety Thin stems that have flowered. Rejuvenate plants by cutting one-third of stems to the ground each year.
Syringa vulgaris
Lilac
Maintain size and shape. Encourage flowering after flowering Remove spent flowers. Remove suckers. Cut back one-quarter of old canes to the ground each year.
Tamarix
Tamarisk
Control size and shape. Encourage flowering spring flowering varieties, after flowering. Summer flowering varieties, early spring Remove weak spindly growth on spring-flowering varieties. Thin stems that have flowered. Cut summer flowering species to the ground.
Viburnum
Cranberry Bush, Snowball Bush, Deciduous viburnum
Maintain natural form and encourage flowering after flowering Little pruning is required. Remove dead, damaged or diseased wood. Rejuvenate by cutting back one-quarter of the stems to the ground.
Weigela Control size and encourage flowering after flowering Cut out dead, damaged or diseased branches. Prune away winter killed branches. Flowers on last years growth. Remove one-third of canes each year by pruning to the base. Prune flowering stems to a strong bud.
Author: Arts Nursery Ltd. Source:

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