how to prune shrubs when dividing and pruning plants
Photo: Reena Bammi
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How to Prune Shrubs

Young flowering shrubs should be pruned lightly to make them grow fuller and bushier. With hand pruners, trim long, unbranched stems by cutting just above a healthy bud. This type of pruning, called heading, encourages lower side branches to develop and enhances the shrub's natural form. When selecting a bud tip to trim to, keep in mind that the new branch will grow out in the direction of the bud. Like most pruning, heading cuts should be timed to avoid disrupting the plant's flowering.

As a shrub develops, thin out old, weak, rubbing, or wayward branches where they merge with another branch. This opens up the middle of the plant to more sunlight, which keeps interior branches healthy, stimulates growth, and increases flowering.

For more simple pruning techniques, including how to prune aged shrubs, small trees, and when to prune, see How to Prune Small trees and Shrubs.
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