Spring pruning for your shrubs, trees and hedges

With the worst of the winter behind us, now is a good time to prune your shrubs, trees and hedging to ensure they really flourish this summer.

Why prune?

Pruning helps to keep the size and shape of your plants in check, keep them healthy and maximises their potential growth.

When to prune?

The best time to prune is late winter/early Spring when the hard frosts are behind us. Pruning too early will leave the plants exposed and at risk of being damaged if there is a hard frost. Mild frosts of -1 or -2 won’t affect recently pruned plants.

Pruning plants during the dormant season is effectively like doing it whilst they’re asleep. They will then wake up in the Spring knowing exactly where and how to grow!

Plants go through two ‘flush’ phases during the year; the first and largest is between April and June and then again from the end of August to October. Pruning before this big period of growth will prepare them to flourish!

The exception is early flowering shrubs which will already have flower buds on, so it’s probably best to leave pruning them until them until mid-summer when they’re in full growth and after flowering.

Also Cherry trees are best pruned when they are in full growth as winter pruning can allow disease to enter the plants

One thing to bear in mind if you have Birch trees is that they can bleed a lot after pruning and so don’t leave it too late to ensure they’re still dormant when you prune.

How to prune

At this time of year, you can give your plants a really hard prune to get them back into shape. Remember to cut shrubs and trees back to just above the bud so they’ve got something to grow back from.

Don’t worry about cutting evergreen leaves on your hedging plants. This won’t cause any harm.

A good pair of secateurs should be sufficient to prune back shrubs and smaller hedging plants. For larger hedges you’ll need some hedging shears or a petrol hedge trimmer.


If you unsure about how to prune your plants or have a specific concern, please get in touch.