How to Prune Southern Arrowwood


Southern Arrowwood is a deciduous shrub with arched branches and rounded leaves that gets its name from the commonly held belief that Native Americans used the straight stems from the planet to make arrows. It flowers in May and June with white flowers known to attract butterflies and bluish-black berries that bloom later in the summer. In the fall the leaves turn yellow-orange to red. Pruning is not necessary for Southern Arrowwood to effectively grow or thrive, but it can be pruned as much as you want.

Step 1

Shape the plant as little or as much as you want. Trim stems down so that they are all the same length or create a layered appearance. Nearly all pruning down on Southern Arrowwood is for the sake of appearance.

Step 2

Remove soil around any basal suckers that grow to get to the base. Basal suckers are the shoots that grow from the base or roots of the Southern Arrowwood. They must be removed at the base to keep them from returning.

Step 3

Tear the basal suckers off as near to the plant base or root as possible. Tearing destroys more of the tissues than a clean cut, and the more damage done to the tissue, the less likely the basal suckers will grow back.

Step 4

Remove the portion of the base or root of the Southern Arrowwood where the basal suckers are growing if they are concentrated in one general area. Cut out only the affected root and move it away from the rest of the Southern Arrowwood.

Step 5

Prune Southern Arrowwood down to whatever size you would like if it grows too large for your yard or garden. Cut the Arrowwood as small as you would like or into any shape you want. Southern Arrowwood is a sturdy plant and can handle a hard pruning.

Tips and Warnings

  • While basal suckers on tree stumps and some plants are often removed with herbicide, using herbicide on a Southern Arrowwood will kill it.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Pruning saw


  • Greer Gardens
  • USDA
  • Seedlings R Us
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About this Author

Alexis Lawrence is a freelance writer, filmmaker and photographer with extensive experience in digital video, book publishing and graphic design. An avid traveler, Lawrence has visited at least 10 cities on each inhabitable continent. She has attended several universities and holds a Bachelor of Science in English.