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Sallis Chandler Landscape Designers and Gardeners
spaceDesign and Advice Garden Styles Garden Features Aftercare

Shrubs

Pruning

Structural Shrubs e.g. Elaeagnus, Viburnum Tinus, Bamboo, Fatsia etc. Generally there is little specific pruning required of many shrubs, especially evergreen structural shrubs other than to remove dead, diseased and crossing branches and unwanted growths. Always remove stems that are growing over or swamping other planting to allow all plants sufficient space to grow in.

If stems become overcrowded they will need to be thinned out, removing approximately one third of all growth. It is advisable to remove unwanted growth back to the point from which it arises on the main branch, or to the ground on thicket forming shrubs such as bamboo and Cornus, rather than shortening shoots back.

Other than this they only need to be pruned cosmetically to suit the size and shape of their situation.

Flowering Shrubs e.g. Ceanothus
The above advice applies to flowering shrubs with the following additions.

As a general guide to pruning it is best to remember that flowering shrubs and climbers should usually be pruned after flowering, therefore early flowering plants should be pruned in early summer and later flowering plants are pruned the following spring.

Generally, remove flowered wood after flowering, encouraging growth of new shoots to flower the following year.

Most plants will not need much structural or formative pruning during the first couple of years until they have grown sufficiently to develop a mature framework of branches. Moreover, plants do not all grow and mature at the same rate and some will need pruning long before others.

Fuchsia, Caryopteris, Hydrangea Annabelle and similar flowering shrubs - These can be pruned hard to keep the shape neat and small and encourage flowering the following season. As they are not especially hardy, it is best to wait until spring (e.g. late March) and then prune back to vigorous buds near the base of the shrub.

Roses
Dead-head after flowering cutting back to an outward facing leaf or shoot 3 or 4 leaves below the flowers. In dormant period reduce overall height by up to half and remove badly placed and crossing branches. Occasionally remove older stems completely to make way for new growth to replace it from low down on the plant. Look out for suckers (with thorns and different leaves) from the rootstock and cut these out to below ground level.

Silver-foliaged Shrubs e.g. Lavender, Rosemary, Senecio, Ruta etc.
These benefit from hard pruning in late spring (March-April) after the worst of the cold weather. They can be pruned back to swollen buds or growth points close to the base of the plants. After flowering they can be trimmed lightly back to tidy plants and reduce the risk of winter wind damage. (However seed heads are attractive in winter and can be left if preferred)

NB. Silver foliaged sub shrubs do not respond well to cutting back into old wood, therefore it is important to keep them pruned from an early stage to maintain youthful vigorous growth from the middle of the plant.

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