How to Prune Antelope Bitterbrush


Antelope bitterbrush, (Purshia tridentata,) is a native shrub of the western United States and British Columbia. Its natural habitat runs from Montana to Nebraska and New Mexico, over to California and up through British Columbia. The plant grows up to 6 feet in height and 8 feet in width and is suitable as a hedge or specimen plant. Early spring flowers are small and vary from white to yellow. Prune bitterbrush for height and width growth habits.

Step 1

Do not prune young antelope bitterbrush. The seedlings must be well established for a minimum of 4 years before pruning.

Step 2

Remove dead twigs, branches and stalks as close to the parent branch or base of the plant as possible.

Step 3

Prune the plant for height and shape accordingly, but do not remove more than 40 to 50 percent of the annual growth. The plant grows slowly, and shaping should be performed over several years rather than all at once.

Step 4

Protect antelope bitterbrush from wild game. The shrub is a favorite browse for antelope, elk and deer. The animals will easily overbrowse the shrub, destroying it.

Tips and Warnings

  • Over pruning or allowing the plant to be over browsed may cause permanent or long lasting damage.

Things You'll Need

  • Leather gloves
  • Pruning shears


  • USDA Plant Information
  • Antelope Bitterbrush from the USDA

Who Can Help

  • Pruning Shrubs - Techniques and Information
Keywords: pruning, shaping, antelope bitterbrush

About this Author

Michael Logan is a writer, editor and web page designer. His professional background includes electrical, computer and test engineering, real estate investment, network engineering and management, programming and remodeling company owner. Logan has been writing professionally since he was first published in "Test & Measurement World" in 1989.