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How to Prune a Shrub

Every gardener has a look in mind for their garden, and a lot of that look depends on pruning shrubs. This article should give you a good idea about how to prune a shrub.

What is Pruning?

Pruning is the act of trimming away branches and leaves to shape a shrub in a particular way. It is important to always prune above and close to the buds of the shrub, and never into the buds themselves. Remember to always use clean tools and make clean cuts, as these pruning cuts really are wounds to the plant, and you want to avoid any health problems to the shrub.

Pruning Growing Shrubs

Pruning young shrubs as they are growing helps establish their shape early on. Deciduous and evergreen shrubs have slightly different 'rules' though.

  • Evergreen: Does not need much formative pruning, as they tend to grow in a symmetrical fashion. Some longer shoots will need to be pruned for cleanliness.
  • Deciduous: Deciduous shrubs need formative pruning (pruning into shape) more often. They tend to grow a lot of shoots when young so thinning out early on is recommended.

Autumn Pruning of Shrubs

It is always a best practice to give your shrubs a light prune in the autumn following a good summer growth. For deciduous shrubs, it is always easier to shape them if you wait for all the leaves to fall off.