The pruning time and the pruning method of shrubs depend on the growth and inflorescence. Not all shrubs are the same. You have evergreen species, deciduous species and shrubs that are mainly chosen for their colored twigs



Most evergreen shrubs as:

  1. Photinia (gloss medlar)
  2. Ilex (holly)
  3. Prunus laurocerasus and P. lusitanica (cherry laurel)
  4. Mahonia (Mahogany bush)
  5. Elaeagnus (olive willow)
  6. Viburnum (evergreen snowball)
    can be pruned in the spring, from March to the end of June



For deciduous shrubs and trees, the pruning time is determined by the way in which the plants rejuvenate and in which they bloom: on new shoots or on branches from previous years. We distinguish three groups:

  • Deciduous shrubs that you don't have to prune
    1. Acer japonicum (Japanese maple)
    2. Acer palmatum (Japanese maple)
    3. Amelanchier (currant tree)
    4. Buddleja globosa (Butterfly Bush)
    5. Clethra (Schijnels)
    6. Colutea (Blowbush)
    7. Cornus florida (Dogwood)
    8. Cornus kousa (Chinese dogwood)
    9. Corylopsis (Fake hazel)
    10. Cotinus (Wig Tree)
    11. Cotoneaster (Dwarf Medlar)
    12. Daphne (Pepper Tree)
    13. Euonymus (Cardinal's hat)
    14. Fothergilla (lamp-cleaner bush)
    15. Hamamelis (Witch Hazel)
    16. Hibiscus (Althea bush)
    17. Magnolia (False Tulip Tree, Beaver Tree)
    18. Potentilla , (ganzerik)
    19. Rhus (Velvet tree)
    20. Syringa (Lilac)
    21. (Viburnum) (Snowball)

    These species usually develop a beautiful shape on their own. In addition, they often make new ground shoots with difficulty, so that it is more difficult for them to rejuvenate later. As a result, pruning is limited to removing dead, diseased or crossing wood, and incorrectly growing branches. This pruning is best done in March or early April .

    Althea bush (Hibiscus)

    A second group is formed by the shrubs that bloom on the shoots of the previous year, or on the new shoot. These are mainly varieties that flower in spring or early summer:Buddleja alternifoliasee productBuddleja alternifolia (Butterfly Bush),bridal flowerView plantDeutzia gracilis - Bridal Flower (Deutzia) ,Forsythiasee productAbeliophyllum distichum (Snow forsythia),KerriaView plantKerria japonica 'Pleniflora' - Ranunculus bush,KolkwitziaView plantKolkwitzia amabilis - Queen Bush,farm jasmineView plantPhiladelphus 'Lemoinei' - Farm Jasmine (Philadelphus) ,ribesView plantRibes speciosum - Berry,Spiraeasee productSpiraea vanhouttei (muscle bush)andWeigeliaView plantWeigela 'Eva Rathke' - Weigela. After flowering, the (side) twigs that have flowered are cut away. The main branches are pruned back to where some strong side shoots have developed. This is repeated every year. If the shrub becomes too full or too dense, 20 to 25% of the main branches can be removed from the base.BroomView plantCytisus x praecox 'Albus' - Broom, goat clover (Cytisus) does not tolerate being pruned back strongly. After flowering, the spent shoots are cut back to 1/3, until just after branching.

    At thecurry bushView plantKerria japonica 'Pleniflora' - Ranunculus bush (Kerria japonica) the flowering shoots at the base are pruned every year after flowering. Also thegarden hydrangeaView plantHydrangea macrophylla 'Ayesha' - Garden Hydrangea (Hortensia macrophylla) belongs to this group.

    Curry bush (Kerria japonica)

    The third group consists of shrubs that bloom on the new shoots. These are generally species that return with strong ground shoots. Species that fall under this are, for examplefuchsiasee productFuchsia 'Riccartonii' (Bubble Plant),LeycesteriaView plantLeycesteria formosa - Grandmother's earringsandperovskiaView plantPerovskia atriplicifolia 'Blue Spire' - Giant Lavender, which can be cut almost to the ground in March or early April, just above some strong buds. In other species such as deciduousAmerican lilacView plantCeanothus 'Concha' - American Lilac (Ceanothus) , (Hydrangea paniculata) and muscle bush (Spiraea) is usually pruned more carefully: in March or early April the flowering branches of the previous year are pruned back to half, just above an outer eye. In the following years, the spent side branches are cut back to just above the 1st or 2nd bud from the old frame branch. If the branch system becomes too dense, some branch branches at the base can be removed.

    Thebutterfly bushView plantBuddleja davidii 'Purple Rain' - Butterfly Bush (Buddleja davidii) also belongs to this group, but is pruned slightly differently. The first year after planting, a framework is formed in March or early April by shortening the young branches to half or ¾ their length, just above some strong buds. The following year, as with the other shrubs in this group, the spent side branches are cut back to just above the 1st or 2nd bud from the old frame branch.

    Butterfly bush (Buddleja davidii)


Finally, there is a group of shrubs where not the bloom but the leaves or young twigs are very decorative, such asCornus albasee productCornus alba (White dogwood), C. sibirica, wig tree (Cotinus) ,Corylus maxima 'Purpurea'View plantCorylus maxima 'Purpurea' - Red Leaved Hazelnut, Lambert Nut, willow species and elder with colored leaves. To take extra advantage of this, they can be pruned like the shrubs in the third group. The first year, in March or early April, the branches are pruned back to the desired height (just above the ground, or a little higher for a pollard effect) to just above a few strong buds. The following year, again in March or early April, the side shoots are shortened to a few centimeters from the old main branch, again just above a few buds. This is how new colored side shoots develop every year.


What you are doing is called mulching. Mulching means applying a coating of organic matter. Anything can be used for this. Grass clippings, leaf litter, shredded branches, compost, straw, plant remains, even newspaper (suppressing weeds!) . The material slowly digests into humus. It eventually becomes a loose, nutrient-rich top layer, which protects the substrate from drying out. During the digestion process, nitrogen is extracted from the soil. This can be compensated by adding a bit of fertilizer with a nitrogen fertilizer.

Plants that are sensitive to certain (leaf) fungi, such as mildew on roses, grapes, etc., should not be mulched with their own leaves or wood chips.

A mulch layer can actually be applied all year round, except under very wet conditions: then the organic material will stick. It has the most effect in the spring and autumn, when the digestion process runs optimally, and the plants can immediately benefit from it. In addition, many plants lose their leaves, and weeds have a greater chance. A mulch layer has a weed suppressing effect.

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