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How to Trim a Sage Bush

By Kathryn Hatter ; Updated September 21, 2017
Trim a sage bush to keep it attractive and healthy.
sage bush on eroding sandstone, Utah image by Lars Lachmann from Fotolia.com

Both ornamental sage bushes and the culinary herb sage are popular garden additions, with each holding sunny spots in home gardens. Ornamental sage bushes often grow in warm and dry climates because these shrubs have a high tolerance for drought conditions while managing to stay bright and attractive in a dry landscape. When you grow a sage bush, give it regular trims to keep it healthy and evenly shaped.

Examine the sage bush in early spring while the shrub is still dormant. Look for dead stems or damaged stems and cut these back just above the crown of the shrub. Find any stems that are crossing or rubbing on each other and remove these back to the point where they connect with the next-largest stem. Thin out congested areas of stems to increase air circulation into the center of the shrub.

Remove spent blossoms promptly as they fade on the stems. Removing these blossoms will not only enhance the appearance of the bush, but it will also encourage the shrub to continue blooming or put forth a second bloom. Cut the blossoms off immediately beneath the blossoms with the pruning shears to remove them.

Shape the sage bush when blooming finishes for the season. Remove up to 1/3 of the terminal bud (the top growth) on the stems. Cut these stems back to approximately 1/4 inch above a bud at a 45-degree angle. This trimming will help create a sage bush that is the shape and size you desire. Perform this shape trimming only after the shrub finishes flowering or you may remove future blooms.


Things You Will Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Basket (to collect the stems and branches you remove)

About the Author


Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.