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Pyracantha takes kindly to pruning. But that doesn’t mean that you should grab your (sterilised) pruning shears and start hacking away at the plant. I start this guide with the reasons to prune your pyracantha, add in some tips, and then tell you when and how to go about pruning.
If you’re looking for a quick summary, Pyracantha should be pruned in late winter or early spring to promote healthy growth and flowering. It’s important to avoid pruning during the summer months, as this can remove the flowering shoots and reduce the number of blooms produced. When pruning, it’s best to remove dead, damaged, or diseased wood first, followed by thinning out overcrowded or crossing branches and removing growth to help highlight the berries more.
Three reasons to prune pyracantha
- Remove diseased or dead parts.
- Control an overgrown plant.
- Tidy up a pyracantha hedge and keep it neat and in check.
You must know this
- Pyracantha have thick, very sharp, thorny leaves. wear heavy gloves when pruning this plant.
- Pyracantha flowers on old wood, I can’t stress this enough. That is, the flowers for next year are contained in the buds of this year. When you prune, don’t get rid of one-year old wood.
When to prune pyracantha
Pruning is best done just after the blooms have flowered, or when they are in flower. This lets you see where the buds will be that contain next year’s flowers.
If you’re pruning a hedge, you can do this in spring and up to three times a year to keep the hedge tidy. You probably will cut off at least some of the branches where the flowers and berries would grow from, but you’ll have great foliage in your trim hedge.
Prune your pyracantha straight away if you notice any diseased or dead branches, trunk, leaves or flowers.
You can aggressively prune an overgrown pyracantha at one time. The plant responds well to this and will bush out more to form a compact and dense plant.
How to prune your pyracantha
First of all, sterilise your pruners, the last thing you want to do is spread diseases such as pyracantha scab and fireblight.
Decide where you need to cut the branch. If it’s diseased, cut into the healthy wood to make sure you get all the infected parts.
Make one clean cut to remove the branch/stem/flower/ leaf stalk. Don’t hack away at the plant, as this leaves an open wound that serves as an entry point for pests and diseases.
Stand back often and look at the shape that you’re cutting. Is it even? Does it look like you want it to? Adjust your pruning plan accordingly.
Make sure to leave most of last year’s growth, as this is where the flowers form from.
For pyracantha being trained up a structure, remove any side shoots that are growing. Or tie them onto the support (wires, trellis) to incorporate them into the form of the pyracantha for a larger plant. Consider pruning to make the berries more visible.
If you have issues with your pyracantha not flowering, and it’s not been caused by improper pruning, check out this guide on why pyracantha have no flowers or berries.