The Q&A Archives: Winter trimming of alpine currents

Question: I have several alpine currents that have quite a few dead braches and have lost their shape and are looking quite ugly. I was told just to let them be and not prune this summer and then cut all the brances off near the ground next January or February and new growth will come up next spring. Would this method be Ok to try? Thank you

Answer: You could do that as a way of renewing them, but it is a drastic method especially since this is a relatively slow growing shrub. If you opt to cut them back hard like that, do it in late winter -- not now. Keep in mind too that while they should regrow with a regular shape, the hard pruning also has some risk of killing them.

A less drastic method would be to remove any dead wood (you should do that now regardless), then prune as needed to restore a symmetrical look. Try not to take off more than 25 percent of the branches at a time. You might need two years to bring them back into shape. These can also be sheared, so they take pruning quite well.

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