How to Prune Sand Cherry Bushes


The sand cherry bush, Prunus cistena, is a deciduous shrub that has red leaves and white blossoms. During the fall the leaves of the shrub take on a purple tone. The shrub can reach a height and spread of 8 feet, though some have been known to grow up to 10 feet tall. Pruning extends the life and enhances the health of the sand cherry bush. It also helps the shrub produce more blossoms. Use pruning shears on small branches and loppers on large branches.

Step 1

Remove dead, diseased or damaged branches as soon as you notice them. Remove the entire branch if it is diseased or dead by making a clean, diagonal cut at the base of the shrub or at the parent branch, whichever applies. Broken branches can be cut off in a similar way, or you can make a diagonal cut 2 inches before the broken area if you want to keep the branch.

Step 2

Prune annually in the spring before blooming to shape the shrub. Cut back any errant branches that are growing too long to maintain the shrub’s shape. Make diagonal cuts in front of buds. Cut and remove any branches that cross other branches by opting to cut the smallest branch.

Step 3

Prune annually in the spring after blossoming to encourage growth. Cut and remove one-third of the shrub’s oldest branches. Cut the branches off at ground level by making diagonal cuts. Shorten the remaining branches by ½ inch. Make these cuttings above buds.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears Loppers


  • Ohio State University: Prunus X Cistena, Purpleleaf Sand Cherry
  • University of Minnesota: Pruning Trees and Shrubs
Keywords: prune sand cherry, prune sandcherry bush, cutting sand cherry

About this Author

Leigh Walker has been working as a writer since 1995. She serves as a ghostwriter for many online clients creating website content, e-books and newsletters. She works as a title flagger and writer for Demand Studios, primarily writing home and garden pieces for and Walker pursued an English major/psychology minor at Pellissippi State.