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How to Prune Saskatoon Serviceberry

By Callie Barber ; Updated September 21, 2017

Saskatoon serviceberry is a native shrub or small tree found growing along the Pacific coast from Alaska to California. Used to make jellies, jams and pies, you can also use saskatoon serviceberry fruits to make saskatoon wine. Historically, Native Americans ate the berries of the saskatoon serviceberry and added them to dried vegetables and soups. The saskatoon grows up to 21 feet in height and has smooth light brown bark tinged with red. Its leaves are nearly round and 3 centimeters long with lateral veins. The short flowers are white and strap-like with purple-black fruit.

Prune saskatoon serviceberry at the end of fall and after a majority of the leaves and fruit have fallen. This will ensure vigorous and healthy growth the following season.

Prune back the saskatoon serviceberry with pruning shears, which create sharp cuts up to ¾ inches in diameter. Thin back the shrub by cutting off weak branches and stems to their point of origin. Thinning produces a more open shrub and highlights the branch’s internal structure.

Remove all lateral or side branches that cross each other and are twisted. Prune pest-infested or diseased stems by removing the whole branch. This will prevent infecting the shrub.

Prune to one central branch, and remove competing twigs on young saskatoon serviceberry shrubs. This process will free up essential nutrients to the central branch and create a stronger plant. Remove any suckers or small vigorous shoots growing from the root of the shrub as soon as they are visible.


Things You Will Need

  • Pruning shears


  • Between each cut, sterilize the pruning shears with methanol to eliminate the possibility of infecting the plant.


  • Always wear protective gardening gloves when using pruning shears.

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.