x
 
 
Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map!

How to Prune Common Serviceberry

By Melody Lee ; Updated September 21, 2017

Common serviceberry is a deciduous, multi-stemmed shrub with a drooping form. Showy white flowers bloom in the spring before the leaves appear. Birds and other wildlife quickly eat the sweet purplish berries that ripen in the summer. Prune common serviceberry as a single stem tree, which shows off its attractive bark. Blooms develop on the previous year’s growth, so prune immediately after flowering.

Pruning a Shrub

Use hand pruners for limbs less than ½ inch in diameter and lopping shears for larger limbs. Make pruning cuts at a 30-degree angle near a joint or bud.

Remove dead or diseased limbs at ground level with hand pruners or lopping shears. Signs of disease are dead or dying leaves (out of season), cankers, splits in the bark or wood, or oozing areas in the bark or wood.

Prune out damaged or crossed limbs with lopping shears or hand pruners.

Thin out older, unproductive limbs at ground level with lopping shears or hand pruners to encourage new growth.

Use hand pruners or lopping shears to remove drooping limbs at ground level that interfere with the passage of people of vehicles.

Prune a Tree

Choose a straight healthy limb for the trunk of the tree. Use hand pruners or lopping shears as instructed in Step 1 of the previous section. Remove all other limbs at ground level around the selected tree trunk.

Remove the limbs from the trunk to a height of 4 to 5 feet from the ground with hand pruners or lopping shears. Cut close to the trunk, but do not cut into the bark and wood of the trunk.

Prune out dead, diseased, damaged or crossed limbs with lopping shears or hand pruners.

Remove drooping limbs that interfere with the passage of vehicles or people, or that spoil the shape of the tree.

 

Things You Will Need

  • Hand pruners
  • Lopping shears

Tip

  • Clean cut limbs and other debris from around shrub or tree. Use healthy green trimmings in compost. Destroy diseased and dead trimmings, to avoid spreading diseases.

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.