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How to Prune a Bush

By Callie Barber ; Updated September 21, 2017

Encourage your bushes to grow and prosper with an overall maintenance plan of pruning and cutting back branches. Always prune in the beginning years of the bush’s life to prevent future problems down the road and to help give the bush a strong base. Remove any insect-infected or diseased branches to help the bush grow and flower. Keep the bush growing strong by trimming to its natural shape. Don’t over prune your bush, which can permanently damage the plant and its ability to develop. By correctly pruning and trimming back your bushes, you will ensure a healthy and hardy bush.

Prune bushes in the late winter to early spring before new spring growth emerges. During the dormant season, it's easier to prune without buds or leaves obscuring the bush structure.

Use pruning shears to cut back old branches throughout the crown of the bush. This process will promote a strong branch development and better form to the bush. Pruning shears are essential when cutting back bushes and can make cuts up to ¾ inches in diameter.

Prune back overgrown bushes to the first pair of buds facing the outside of the bush. Trim the branch at the point of origin from the main stem or “parent” stem. This will produce a more open bush without stimulating new plant growth, which results in a dense and top heavy bush.

Remove all weak, broken and crossed branches, which can affect the development of the bush. Prune all dead and diseased stems or branches on the bush by removing the entire branch.

Prune young bushes to their natural form but don’t cut back the central stem leader. As the bush develops, start by removing low branches and ones located close to the bottom of the bush trunk.

 

Things You Will Need

  • Pruning shears

Tip

  • Sterilize the pruning shears between each cut with methanol to reduce the possibility of infecting the bush.

Warning

  • Always wear garden gloves to protect your hands from scrapes and scratches.

About the Author

 

Callie Barber has been writing professionally since 2002. Barber's love for design and writing inspired her to create Design Your Revolution, a blog that shares creative and affordable ways to decorate indoor and outdoor living environments. Her articles have appeared on Travels.com and GardenGuides.com. Barber holds a Bachelors of Arts in international studies from the University of North Carolina.