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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  • Winter stems of Cornus


    Coppicing is a pruning technique where a tree or shrub is cut to ground level, resulting in regeneration of new stems from the base. It is commonly used for rejuvenating and renovating old shrubs.

  • ©RHS WSYD0011087


    Flowering Cornus (dogwood) trees are grown for their showy coloured bracts in late spring and early summer. Shrubby Cornus alba, C. sericea and C. sanguinea are grown for their vivid winter stem colour, while shrubby C.mas (the cornelian cherry) is grown for its winter flowers and summer fruits. This varied group of plants give great garden value.

  • Deadheading rose bushes

    Deadheading plants

    Deadheading is the term used for the removal of flowers from plants when they are fading or dead. It is done to keep plants looking attractive and encourage more blooms, whether in beds and border, containers or hanging baskets.

  • Dierama


    With its graceful, arching flower stems and bell-shaped blooms, it is easy to understand why Dierama is commonly called Angel’s fishing rod. This is a perfect perennial for a sunny border or a container.

  • Epiphyllum


    Epiphyllum (orchid cacti) are often grown as houseplants as they are relatively trouble-free. They produce large, showy flowers, which are usually sweetly-scented and last two days or more.

  • Growing pear 'Williams Bon Chretien' as an espalier. Image: Tim Sandall/RHS

    Espalier training trees

    Training apples and pears as espaliers is a space-saving way of growing fruit on a wall or fence. They require little pruning once established and are attractive in blossom and fruit and architectural during winter. Ornamentals such as Pyracantha are sometimes trained as espaliers.

  • Pruning Eucalyptus

    Eucalyptus: pruning

    Eucalyptus is an attractive evergreen tree grown mainly for its foliage and peeling bark. These trees can grow quite large if left unpruned, but pruning techniques, like coppicing and pollarding, mean you can enjoy this tree in even a small garden.

  • Initial fan training a red currant.

    Fan-trained trees: initial training

    Fan-trained trees are productive, attractive and produce a useful crop considering they take up little space. Initial training requires a little effort, but the results are rewarding.

  • Fan-trained trees: pruning established fans

    Fan-trained trees: pruning established fans

    Fan-trained fruit trees need summer pruning to ensure the shape is maintained and there is plenty of fruiting wood. Annual pruning varies according to the fruit type and there are details below to help with these.

  • ©RHS PUB0035700

    Ferns: hardy

    Low-maintenance and tolerant of a wide range of soil conditions, ferns complement any shade plant combination. From tiny specimens grown in walls to the royal fern at six feet tall, there’s room for ferns in every sized garden.

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