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When & How to Prune Mock Orange Bushes?

Jasmine image by Elzbieta Sekowska from

Fragrant mock orange bushes are an old-fashioned summertime delight. The best clusters of white flowers grow on new shoots that emerge from pruned areas of the deciduous shrub. Pruning the mock orange bush will add to healthy growth, lush blossoms and plant longevity. A healthy mock orange bush will grow from 4 to 8 feet in height and can last for decades. Choose pruning shears for suckers and branches that are to 3/4 to 1 inch in diameter. Lopping shears work well for live growth up to 1 to 4 inches in diameter and dead branches.

Pull the branches to the side of the plant to see if the center is overgrown. Prune in late winter or early spring. Wear gloves to protect your hands.

Cut the dead branches away from the plant with the pruning or lopping shears. Cut the dead wood down to the ground. Toss it to one side to keep your work area clear of debris. This thinning method helps prevent disease and encourages new growth.

Shape the mock orange bush by cutting back lengthy or straggly branches to better define the overall shape. Cut the branch on an angle, 1/4 inch above a healthy bud or branch. The bud must be on the side of the branch where new growth is encouraged. Notice that the woody branches are stiff. Remove branches from the interior and outside of the bush. Do not prune away more than one-third of a mock orange bush at a time.

Cut away sucker growth that sprouts light green, spindly shoots from the base of branches of the bush using pruning shears. Check at ground level and remove sucker growth there during the summer.

Thin out newly developed plant shoots on a two-year-old plant to control the shape of the bush in the spring. Do not prune younger bushes vigorously. Pinch off the ends of the green shoots on a newly planted mock orange bush to promote growth of branches.

Prune away the dead flower clusters on the bush after the blossoms have completely faded.


Remove all branches that show signs of insect infiltration. They can become diseased and threaten the survival of the mock orange bush.


Do not use the same tool to cut a healthy bush after cutting a diseased branch. Wipe the cutting blades with wood alcohol, or a solution of 1 part chlorine bleach to 9 parts water, to disinfect them before pruning healthy branches.

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