Pruning

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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  • Harvesting asparagus. Credit: RHS/Advisory.

    Asparagus

    One of the most sought-after vegetables, asparagus is easy to grow on well-drained soil or in raised beds, as long as it is kept well fed and weed-free.

  • Phyllostachys aureosulcata f. aureocaulis

    Bamboo

    Bamboos are very desirable garden plants. They can make large clumps that are ideal as focal points or for adding structure to borders. They can look unsightly if left to grow unhindered, and may become invasive. But keeping plants under control and attractive is easy with some simple routine maintenance.

  • Bay

    Bay tree ( Laurus nobilis )

    The bay tree is a popular evergreen shrub suitable for containers or growing in the ground. Kept neatly clipped, the dark-green foliage can create stunning formal shapes that make an entrance or look perfect on a patio. Bay leaves can be used fresh or dried and are used in cooking to give a fragrant flavour to soups, stews and other dishes.

  • Beech hedge

    Beech hedging

    Beech (Fagus sylvatica) is native to the UK. It is deciduous but when grown as hedging and trimmed annually in August, the leaves will usually be retained in a dry state throughout most of the winter. This enhances its winter appearance and gives value as a year round screen.

  • Trained blackberry on post and wire support

    Blackberry and hybrid berry: pruning and training

    Blackberries and most hybrid berries, such as tayberry, wineberry, boysenberry and loganberry, all crop on long stems or canes. All of them are vigorous and require annual pruning and training for easy management.

  • Cuts made to some plants can bleed sap. Credit:RHS/The Garden.

    Bleeding from pruning cuts

    Bleeding from pruning cuts can be unsightly but is usually not harmful, and will naturally heal over time. In rare cases, prolonged bleeding may lead to loss of vigour and even death of the tree or shrub. We no longer recommend binding, wrapping or painting pruning cuts, the best thing is to let them heal naturally. Pruning at the correct time will minimise bleeding as well.

  • Vaccinium corymbosum 'Nelson'

    Blueberries

    Blueberries produce not only delicious fruits, but also attractive flowers and vivid autumn colour. Best suited to acidic soils, they can be grown in the garden or in containers.

  • Bonsai

    Bonsai

    Bonsai is the art of growing dwarf trees and shrubs from seedlings or rooted cuttings. It requires careful training, pruning and container restriction – the latter giving bonsai its name as it translates as 'tray cultivation'. This is a fun and beautiful way of cultivating plants on a miniature scale.

  • Buxus

    Box

    Box (Buxus) is commonly planted in gardens as a clipped, formal plant or hedge, although there are many types available that are ideal for naturalistic planting. While box has been a traditional stalwart in gardens, it is now proving more difficult to grow well due to disease and pests marring their neat appearance.

  • Crocus naturalised in grass

    Bulbs: naturalising

    Drifts of daffodils, snowdrops and crocus in open grass are one of the classic signs of spring. Although they look like the work of nature, they are simple to create and will last for many years.

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