The Q&A Archives: Pruning Cranberry Cotoneaster

Question: I planted 2 cranberry cotoneaster plants last spring. They appear to be very straggly and misshapen. I was wondering if one is expected to prune and shape the plant before it begins growing in the spring - or if you do it later (does that interfere with the berries??) or if one just lets it grow to its own shape. Thank you for any help you might give on this problem.
Along the same line - last summer these plants had what appeared to be spider mites. I treated with a plant insecticide and appeared to get rid of them. Is there a way to prevent them from coming and defoliating the contoneaster this year?

Answer: Young cotoneaster can be a sprawling plant. If there are misplaced stems and branches, cut them off in early spring. New growth will appear within a few weeks. Spider mites like dry situations and generally attack plants during the long, dry, dusty days of late summer. You can discourage the pests by occasionally washing your plants with water from the hose.

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