How to Prune an Early-Flowering Shrub
Follow these steps to prune shrubs that flower before midsummer.
2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited
Shrubs that flower before midsummer, such as forsythia, kerria and deutzia, should be pruned after they have flowered. Their blooms develop on stems that were made the year before, therefore pruning soon after flowering gives the plants time to develop new stems that will bloom the following year.
Step 1: Inspect Your Plant
This deutzia is five years old, and has become too tall, while the stems shooting up from the base are congested. Some flower buds are also suffering from frost damage.
Step 2: Remove Dead and Diseased Stems
Cut out any wood that is dead, diseased, and damaged. Then use sharp pruners to remove one in three of the congested stems, targeting the old and weak growth.
Step 3: Shorten the Stems
Shorten the remaining stems to a pair of strong, healthy buds, or new shoots, as shown here. Pay particular attention to crowded shoots in the center of the plant.
Step 4: Remove Crossed Stems
Remove any stems that are crossing and rubbing against each other. Also prune out shoots that are growing toward the middle of the plant.
Step 5: Reduce the Height If Necessary
Take down the tallest stems, cutting back to healthy, outward-facing shoots or buds.
Step 6: The Result
The pruned shrub is shorter and the congestion has been reduced. New growth will soon appear from the base and below pruning cuts, resulting in more flowers.