Snow buckwheat is a deciduous evergreen half-shrub found in British Columbia and south to central Oregon and Idaho. Used to stabilize soil and prevent erosion, snow buckwheat also provides canopy and cover for small birds and mammals. Sheep and deer utilize snow buckwheat for food, especially the tips of the flower heads. Snow buckwheat is a low-growing shrub that reaches up to 3-feet tall and has short and oblong leaves with a silvery gray color. The leaves on the flowering stems are short and narrow and the flowers are white or light pink and when mature, turn brown. Snow buckwheat is found growing along steep slopes and in canyon grasslands. It prefers full sun but can tolerate partial shade.
Prune snow buckwheat in the fall after the leaves and flowers have dropped from the shrub. Autumn pruning will help to ensure healthy growth the following season.
Cut back the top of the snow buckwheat with pruning shears, and cut to the terminal bud, which is the main region of growth on the shrub. Prune all lateral branches that are gnarled, but leave all hardy and woody stems in tact. The goal is to produce one tall and strong branch leader.
Cut off all diseased and broken branches by cutting off the entire branch. Remove all insect-infested stems to avoid infecting the bush. Snow buckwheat prefers pruning to a natural shape, so make sure you don't over prune. Also, removing the crown of the plant--the area where the roots and stems meet--will shorten the lifespan of the plant.
Prune to one central stem, and cut off all weak and thin stems on young buckwheats. This will free up needed nutrients to the rest of the young plant. Remove suckers shoots or small stems out of the base of the bush.