Pruning for Good Foliage

Hazel, elder, willow and colored-stemmed dogwoods can all withstand hard pruning. Remove old stems in late winter or early spring to encourage new growth.

From: DK Books - Learn to Garden
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Step 1: Plan for Future Growth

Pruning for Foliage

Pruning for Foliage

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Elder is a vigorous plant—most of the growth seen here was made during the previous year. In alternate years all the stems can be pruned back in early spring to a low framework near its base.

Step 2: Remove Flowering Stems

One Stem at a Time

One Stem at a Time

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Prune each stem back to two or three pairs of buds above the base of the previous year’s wood. Although you will get the best foliage by pruning in this way, you are also removing the flowering stems.

Step 3: Trim the Old Wood

Cut Out the Old

Cut Out the Old

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Cut old, congested wood in the center of the plant right down to the ground. Also remove any stems that are badly positioned, or growing toward the middle.

Step 4: Make Smooth, Clean Cuts

Clean Cuts

Clean Cuts

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Use loppers on all branches that are more than 1⁄2 in (1 cm) in diameter. Use a curved pruning saw on very thick branches, or where you need to make a cut in an awkward spot.

Step 5: Maintain Your Pruning

Keep Pruned

Keep Pruned

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Pruning will encourage vigorous growth, despite the finished result looking sparse. Now the flowering stems have been removed, this spring-flowering plant will not bloom or produce berries this year.

Step 6: The Payoff

Early Summer Payoff

Early Summer Payoff

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

By early summer, the elder’s stems will have grown by 3 ft (1 m) or more, and the fresh, beautifully variegated leaves will unfurl to make a compact, eye-catching feature in the garden.

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