All evergreen shrubs, such as ceanothus, camellias and rhododendrons, are only borderline hardy. The young growth and leaves are vulnerable to cold and should be pruned in summer, once the frosts are over.
Discover eight reasons to prune in summer.
The main aim of pruning evergreens is to maintain their shape, control their growth and remove any frost-damaged stems. Ideally, prune before the new leaf buds open, so that energy is directed into the remaining stems.
Here are some tips for pruning evergreen shrubs.
Remove old wood
The main aim when pruning evergreens is to remove around a third of the old wood, taking away any crossing and congested branches.
Blue flowers on a variegated caenothus
Cut back to just above new buds
Trace back down the branches to where strong, new buds appear. Using secateurs or loppers, cut to just above these buds, so that sap from the plant is channelled into them.
Pink bloom of camellia ‘Crimson King’
Cut back vigorous sideshoots
Cut back vigorous sideshoots, cutting back above a bud. For plants that flowered earlier in the spring, this has the added advantage of cutting off any spent blooms.
Pruning a camelia
Encourage compact growth
Encourage compact growth by cutting back long, unproductive stems.
Lots of other plants can be pruned in summer, too, including wisteria. If you’re feeling daunted, read our guide to pruning wisteria in summer.
Pruning a long stem