Before you prune your Berberis, get a tough pair of gloves! The thorns
are very invasive, and it is difficult to to prune Berberis without
Deciduous Berberis need pruning at different times to the evergreen
varieties. We take you through the process of pruning, at the right
time, done in the right way.
This group of Berberis make their flower buds the year before
they actually flower, so it is important to allow the flowering
wood as much time as possible to produce suitable branches for
flowering the next year.
If you prune these Berberis too late in
the year, then they will not have time to do this.
Berberis thunbergii and all other deciduous
Berberis need pruning right after they have finished flowering -
late spring or early summer.
Together with this, if
you prune these Berberis too early (before flowering in spring)
you will prune out all of the flower buds for the current year.
Right after flowering, prune out all of the
flowered stems - pruning well back into the shrub. At least one
third of the newly flowered stem should be cut out. It will soon
then produce vigorous new stems to grow through the summer -
ready for flowering the following spring early summer season.
During this pruning operation, it will also be
good practice to cut out some of the older stems each year - by
pruning right down to ground level. Around one third of the old
stems should be pruned down in this manner.
This will make for a ready supply of new
vigorous growth for flowering in following seasons.Prune the following Berberis in this manner >> Berberis
thunbergii types - atropurpurea, Bagatelle, Aurea, Crimson Pygmy, Golden
Ring, Rosy Glow, Sparkle, and all others in the thunberdii group. B.
Ottawensis types, B. aggregata, B. dictophylla, B. jamesiana, B.
Hard Pruning Berberis.
Deciduous Berbers types can be a bit temperamental if cut back hard.
Most of the time, they shoot into new growth, but there have been times
when I have lost an old overgrown Berberis. Rather than take a change
with a valued shrub, far better to cut it back hard in three stages.
At the start of growth in spring, cut back one third of the branches.
Do this evenly around the shrub. After around 6 weeks you will see new
growth starting down at basal level, it is then safe to cut out a
further third of the shrub - that is not half of the remaining branches,
and after a further six weeks it will be ok to cut out the remainder of
the older branches.
Trimming Berberis Hedges.
Most varieties are best trimmed right after flowering. With Berberis
stenophylla - a great heading plant - I tend to simply trim up the sides
- leaving the long arching sprays at the top for a great display the