Learn about pruning with expert advice from the RHS

Shrub pruning

Pruning late-summer and autumn flowering shrubs in spring will keep their growth in check and improve flowering.

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  • Tree Preservation Orders

    Tree Preservation Orders

    A Tree Preservation Orders (TPO) is the legal mechanism to protect and preserve trees for public enjoyment, environmental and aesthetic purposes. Woodlands and non-commercial orchards are covered, but bushes, shrubs and hedges are not.

  • Avenue of lime trees


    Trees can bring so much to a garden, including shade, fruit, autumn colour, fragrance, flowers, height; and also offer very valuable environmental benefits. After the first year or two, trees need little maintenance or pruning and usually look after themselves with just a little routine care. If well chosen and managed, their ultimate stature and spread should not become an embarrassment.

  • ©RHS PUB0000819

    Trees and the law

    Trees add structure and drama to a garden but their size and potential to cause nuisance or damage means they can sometimes be a worry. Understanding UK law relating to trees can help everyone grasp the rights and responsibilities of tree ownership.

  • Good pruning in the early years results in better shaped trees. Image: Tim Sandall/RHS

    Trees: formative pruning

    While many trees will naturally form their adult shape as they grow, others need a little assistance to create a clear trunk and a well-spaced canopy of branches. It is wise to keep an eye on young trees and carry out formative pruning as required.

  • Removing branch

    Trees: pruning

    Ornamental garden trees require minimal maintenance, but a little sensible pruning can ensure the tree remains healthy and safe and grows in an attractive shape.

  • Removing a branch with a pruning saw

    Trees: reducing their size safely

    When a tree outgrows its space, gardeners must decide if it is worth reducing it in size. This is usually achieved through pruning, but it can be hard work and expensive. The alternative is to replace the tree with one to suit the space, but this is not always practical. 

  • Digging out a stump. Credit: RHS/John Trenholm.

    Trees: stump removal and treatment

    When trees are felled or fall, their stumps should be removed to prevent suckering and fungal root rots. Although often large and heavy, stumps can be removed with the right equipment and technique, or removed by weedkiller.

  • Walnuts


    Walnut trees may be tall, but they can produce a good crop of delicious nuts in a large garden. Grafted trees begin cropping after about four years and established trees are largely trouble free.

  • © RHS / Mike Sleigh (RHS_PUB0018105)

    Wisteria problems: frequently asked questions

    Wisteria is one of the quintessential cottage garden plants, with a chocolate-box image of spectacular blooms adorning the front of a country cottage. It is actually a very versatile plant and lends itself to a variety of situations, including growth in containers. Of the few problems affecting the plant, non-flowering and sudden dieback are probably the most frustrating.

    Here we give answers to many of the common problems encountered. They are grouped by the area of the plant affected: shoots; leaves and flowers.

  • Winter pruning

    Wisteria: pruning

    Wisteria needs regular pruning to keep the growth and size under control, but it will also improve the flowering display. Although it seems complicated, wisteria pruning is quite simple if you follow our simple guide.

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