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How to Prune Indian Hawthorn Shrubs

By Elton Dunn ; Updated September 21, 2017

A low-maintenance evergreen shrub with cheery spring blossoms and purple autumn berries, Indian hawthorn is a popular choice for small gardens. Gardeners should prune Indian hawthorn annually to remove dead or diseased wood; more intense pruning, which is purely for aesthetic reasons, can be done every few years. The best time to prune Indian hawthorn is after the flowers have passed, typically in May.

Inspect the branches of your Indian hawthorn shrub for signs of diseased, damaged or dead limbs. Dead limbs feel lighter to the touch, while damaged or diseased limbs usually display cuts, discoloration or wounds.

Cut off any dead, diseased or damaged branches by snipping them off at the base. Between cuts, dip your anvil pruners in a solution with a ratio of one part bleach to 10 parts water, to avoid accidentally passing bacteria or fungus to healthy parts of the plant. Disinfect pruners again before continuing, and discard all unhealthy clippings into a garbage bin.

Head back of branches if you feel the shrub has grown too tall or is spreading too much. Clip off a couple of inches using anvil pruners. Make heading cuts at a 45-degree angle so rain falls off them, rather than collecting on them (which would happen with a straight cut).

Thin out crowded sections of the canopy. Remove weak or old limbs from crowded areas by cutting them off at the base with the anvil pruners. If you find branches that cross or rub against other branches, cut the crossed one off at its base.

Trim away new growth that grows downward or outward from the main trunk.


Things You Will Need

  • Garden gloves
  • Anvil pruners
  • Bleach
  • Water
  • Bucket


  • Indian hawthorn blooms on the previous season's growth; bear this in mind when pruning, to avoid accidentally trimming off next year's flowers.

About the Author


A successful website writer since 1998, Elton Dunn has demonstrated experience with technology, information retrieval, usability and user experience, social media, cloud computing, and small business needs. Dunn holds a degree from UCSF and formerly worked as professional chef. Dunn has ghostwritten thousands of blog posts, newsletter articles, website copy, press releases and product descriptions. He specializes in developing informational articles on topics including food, nutrition, fitness, health and pets.