How to Prune Spirea Bushes & Barberry Bushes

Overview

Barberry and spirea are popular landscape bushes that are often grown together. They need regular pruning to maintain their size and shape and keep the plants healthy. Barberries make good hedges, while spirea is better trimmed to a more natural shape. Used in a hedge, barberries will need pruning several times throughout the season.

Pruning Barberry

Step 1

Prune barberry bushes in the late spring after the flowers fade. This will stimulate new growth during the summer. Prune young bushes extensively to encourage branching.

Step 2

Remove dead and diseased branches, cutting back to a healthy joint. Use clean, sharp pruning shears or clippers for small brush and loppers or a small hand saw for larger branches.

Step 3

Shape the bush to a pleasing arrangement. Follow the natural growth pattern or trim to fit your hedge. Thin out branches that crowd other foliage or block sunlight. Cut flush with the branch collar at the previous branch or just above an outward-facing leaf bud.

Step 4

Remove branches close to the ground

Step 5

Rejuvenate older barberry shrubs by cutting the bush back severely. Leave approximately 6 inches above the ground. This will stimulate new growth.

Step 6

Remove clippings and debris from the area to prevent disease. Barberry cuttings can take root and spread to unwanted places in the landscape.

Pruning Spirea

Step 1

Prune spirea after blooming. According to the University of California Extension Service, Spirea blooms on the previous year’s growth. Pruning immediately after blooming allows the bush to produce plenty of new growth for next year’s blooms. Use pruning shears and loppers to shape the plant.

Step 2

Remove dead, damaged and diseased wood, cutting back to a healthy branch or outward-facing leaf bud.

Step 3

Remove old wood with little growth. Thin out branches with weak growth, removing them flush with the branch collar.

Step 4

Even up the foliage, trimming to a pleasing shape and size.

Step 5

Dispose of clippings. Branches left in the garden are an invitation to disease and insects.

Things You'll Need

  • Gloves
  • Protective clothing
  • Pruning shears
  • Loppers
  • Hand saw

References

  • Purdue University Cooperative Extension: Pruning Ornamental Trees and Shrubs
  • University of California Extension: Pruning Flowering Shrubs
Keywords: prune spirea, prune barberry, prune landscape bushes, spirea bushes, barberry bushes

About this Author

Diane Watkins has been writing since 1984, with experience in newspaper, newsletter and web content. She writes two electronic newsletters and content around the web. Watkins has a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Clemson University. She has taken graduate courses in biochemistry and education.