Pruning is traditionally associated with the winter months but there are plenty of reasons to prune plants in summer, too.


It's well worth taking the time to prune shrubs in summer - it can promote better displays of flowers and foliage.

Find out how to prune wisteria in summer.

Trimming hedges in summer? Follow our advice on which tools to use, depending on the type of hedge you're growing.

Find out how to prune beech and hornbeam hedges.

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Discover five shrubs to prune in summer, below.


If you need to lightly prune rhododendrons, do so after they've bloomed, which is usually in May and June. All you need to do is cut back old blooms, as well as dead or diseased stems, aiming to create a uniform shape.

A crimson rhododendron in full bloom

Cherry laurel

The best time to prune cherry laurels (Prunus laurocerasus) in summer is in June, after flowering. Simply cut back the branches you want to reduce to just above a healthy bud or leaf. Avoid cutting through leaves, as this can make them look unsightly.

Pruning cutting back cherry laurel (Prunus laurocerasus) 'Otto Luyken' hedge shrub.
Pruning a cherry laurel


Camellias are renowned for their large, showy blooms and glossy evergreen foliage. They flower on stems grown the previous year, so simply prune flowered stems back to a healthy bud once the blooms have faded.

Camellia sasanqua 'Crimson King'
A pink bloom of Camellia sasanqua 'Crimson King'


Philadelphus are one of the most important plants to prune in summer, to ensure the the richly-scented blooms return next year. Prune them right after flowering by cutting back flowered stems to a healthy bud, or to a sideshoot that has yet to flower.

White philadelphus blooms


California lilac

California lilac, or ceanothus, shouldn't need much pruning. They can outgrow their space, though, so reduce their size but cutting back weak, thin branches by about a third.

Ceanothus 'Concha'
Blue blooms of Ceanothus 'Concha'

Sharpen your tools

Before you get to work, make sure your tools are clean and sharp – dirty, blunt tools can aid the spread and entry of diseases. Find out how to maintain secateurs.