Last Updated: 21 August 2012

How you get it done: Pruning shrubs

Shrubs should be pruned for the same reasons as trees – when they have become too large or wild, when you need to trim out old branches. After pruning, shrubs often flower better.

Early spring is a good time to prune most shrubs. It is preferable not to do this when there is risk of strong frost. Roses and certain other shrubs should be left until later, however. If you are unsure, ask for advice at your local plant nursery.

Be bold!

It is better to prune too much than too little. Just tidying up the crown a little has no great benefit.

Pruning branches.

Use secateurs for the smallest branches. A long-handled pruner is useful for areas that are difficult to reach. For large branches a curved pruning saw comes in handy. The largest branches may call for a bow saw.

Regular pruning.

This is how you prune shrubs regularly. Start by removing dry and dead branches. Then move on to the weak branches and those that are distorted or ugly.

Continue until you have achieved the shape you want. Always make cuts just above forks or buds. By making the cut on the diagonal you reduce the risk of fungal or viral attack.

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