Pruning for old flowering shrubs

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Simple spring flowers such as forsythia, currant jasmine or scented jasmine do not cost a lot of money, but are relatively intensive care. At least every three years after flowering, they need a clearing cut, otherwise they over age with time and become lazy.

rejuvenation pruning

If you have been pushing the pruning of your spring flowers for several years, it is usually not enough with a simple pruning cut, because in many species the crown has already fallen apart and flowers are barely visible in spring. In this case, only a radical pruning helps - the so-called rejuvenation cut. It is possible with the following shrub groups without fear of failures or malformations:

- All robust, fast-growing spring flowers such as forsythia, Spierstrauch, Zierjohisbeere, Deutzia and Kolkwitzie

- All summer bloomers such as summer lilac, hydrangea, hibiscus and miniature shrub

- All evergreen broadleafs except Cotoneaster

- among the conifers, the yew is the only species that can withstand severe pruning

Better not to cut

- valuable spring flowers such as witch hazel, magnolia, daphne or bell hazel drive out of thicker trunks bad again

- ornamental cherries and ornamental apples are indeed capable of regeneration, the crown remains after a strong pruning usually unsightly

- almost all coniferous trees do not re-breed if cut back further than into the needled wood

- In the golden rain, the wounds heal very badly

Rejuvenation cut: That's how it's done

Drawing rejuvenation cut spring shrubs

In the first year you cut back the trunks with the pruning shears or saw, in the second year you thinn out the new shoots and cut them in different distances (click to enlarge)

First cut all main shoots in spring or autumn with a strong pruning shears or a saw to about 30 to 50 centimeters in length. In order for the crown to regain a natural shape soon, you should leave the inner branches slightly longer than the outer ones.
In the spring, the bushes drift out of the so-called sleeping eyes - expansive places on the old wood - late, but strong again. By the end of the season usually have formed many long rods.
In autumn or in the following spring you rebuild the crown framework from the young shoots. Thin out the new budding so much that only one to three strong rods remain per main branch. These then cut back to about one to two thirds of their length. Below the interface, an outward-facing bud should stop, so that the new shoot does not grow into the interior of the crown. The young shoots branch out in the course of the new season and the shrub is usually quite handsome again after two years.


Cut the annual rods back to different heights and leave them in the middle of the crown a bit longer, because only then the shrub will get a natural look again. However, this can take a few years, depending on the vigor. While in the fast-growing flowering shrubs, hardly anything is visible after two years of pruning, slow-growing species such as the yew or the rhododendron are more abundant.

Video Board: Pruning Old Established Shrubs Very Hard - When to Prune Flowering Shrubs.

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