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Five plants to prune in spring

Spring-flowering shrubs provide much needed colour after winter, from the bright blooms of weigela to the cheerful yellow flowers of forsythia.

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Some spring-flowering shrubs flower on old branches and if left unpruned will turn into a jumbled mess, with new growth made only at the top of the shrub. Unlike buddleias and fuchsias, which flower on the same year’s growth and can be pruned almost to ground level, shrubs such as forsythia need careful treatment.

For more detailed pruning instructions, take a look at our project on how to prune spring-flowering plants.

Discover five plants to prune in spring, to encourage new growth or keep them in check, below.

1

Tender shrubs

Mediterranean shrubs such as lavender need protection from their top growth over the winter months, but this can be cut off in the spring to make way for new young growth. Other tender shrubs to tackle in the spring include cistus and rosemary.

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2

Summer-flowering shrubs

Shrubs that bloomed in the summer such as fuchsia and buddleia can be cut back hard in the spring to encourage a burst of new growth and plenty of flowers for the next season.

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3

Grasses

Miscanthus and other deciduous grasses that have stood over winter can be cut back hard from March to April. Remove all the brown growth, leaving any new green stems behind. Here’s a video showing you how to tackle various types of deciduous grass.

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4

Foliage shrubs

Encourage the growth of large, vibrant leaves and colourful winter stems by cutting plants such as dogwoods, willow and cotinus back hard every year in early spring. Here’s how to prune and propagate dogwoods at the same time.

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5

Spring-flowering shrubs

Shrubs that flower on the previous season’s growth, such as weigela and forsythia, benefit from being cut back immediately after flowering to keep them in check.

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