The Q&A Archives: Pyracantha

Question: What is the best way trim this plant? Is there a good time of year?
It has been planted for over two years and looks over grown.
Thank You.

Answer: This plant is interesting in that it can be left virtually untrimmed to create an informal look or pruned drastically even to the point of doing an espalier against a wall. The best time to prune would be late winter to early spring. Do not prune it now as this could encourage late season growth and result in excessive winter damage. How you prune it would depend on the overall effect you need, but to tame it just a little bit and direct the growth moderately you would reach deep into the plant and cut the longest branches. Step back often to check your work and do not remove more than 20 percent of the plant in a given year. Then in summer you can selectively prune here and there to keep it tidy. A hard pruning will sacrifice berries -- they form where the flowers are. You may also need to remove winter damaged branch tips, depending on the severity of the winter. Good luck with your pruning -- and remember to wear gloves/arm protection!

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