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How to Prune Eugenia Shrubs

By Melody Lee ; Updated September 21, 2017

The most common Eugenia shrub is the Surinam Cherry. The ripe fruit is dark red to dark purple and tastes like a cherry. The fruit is eaten fresh from the bush or used in jellies, jams and preserves. Eugenia shrubs grow 10 to 20 feet tall. They can be pruned as shrubs or small trees. They can also be severely pruned for use in hedges. Eugenia shrubs and trees usually require little pruning.

Pruning a Shrub

Use hand pruners for limbs up to ½ inch in diameter, lopping shears for branches more than ½ inch but less than 1 inch, and a pruning saw for larger branches. Prune limbs at a 30-degree angle at a bud or joint. Use hedge shears for trimming hedges in smooth shapes.

Remove dead, damaged or diseased limbs with the appropriate pruning tool. Diseased limbs may have dead leaves, moldy peeling bark, cankers or splits in the wood.

Use the correct pruning tool to cut out crossed or rubbing limbs.

Thin out old or weak branches by cutting them off at ground level with lopping shears or hand pruners.

Trim wayward or elongated limbs that spoil the shape of the shrub with hand pruners or lopping shears.

Pruning a Tree

Use the correct pruning tool following the guidelines in Step 1 of Pruning a Shrub.

Choose a main branch for the trunk of the tree. Use lopping shears or hand pruners to remove any other limbs at ground level growing around the trunk.

Decide how high you want the bottom of the canopy of the tree to be. Use the appropriate pruning tool to cut off any branches on the trunk below the canopy. Do not cut into the wood of the trunk, but do not leave a branch stub remaining.

Follow Steps 2 and 3 of Pruning a Shrub to remove dead, damaged or diseased limbs, as well as crossed or rubbing limbs in the canopy of the tree. Prune old or weak wood with the correct pruning tool at a main branch in the canopy of the tree. Do not cut into the wood of the main branch, but do not leave a stub on the branch.

Use hand pruners or lopping shears to trim elongated or wayward limbs that spoil the shape of the canopy.

Pruning a Hedge

Use the correct pruning tool following the guidelines in Step 1 of Pruning a Shrub.

Follow Steps 2, 3 and 4 of Pruning a Shrub.

Trim the shrubs in the hedge into the desired shape with hedge shears. The exterior limbs and foliage of the hedge should be smooth and even.


Things You Will Need

  • Hand pruners
  • Lopping shears
  • Hedge shears


  • Remove and destroy dead or diseased trimmings from around the shrub to prevent the spread of diseases. Green, healthy trimmings can be shredded and added to a compost pile.

About the Author


Melody Lee holds a degree in landscape design, is a Florida Master Gardener, and has more than 30 years of gardening experience. She currently works as a writer and copy editor. Her previous jobs include reporter, photographer and editor for a weekly newspaper.