The Q&A Archives: caring for cotoneasters

Question: Hi! What a fantastic fall!

I have several cotoneaster bushes that were damaged in April with our very late snow. These bushes are one-third to one half damaged. That is, these branches have no green leaves and berries.
The remainder of the bush is OK.
My question is..... When should I cut the leafless branches off?
Should I wait until spring or trim some now?
Should I trim the whole bush back or just the damaged branches?
Also, how far back should I cut a branch? Should I cut one-third of each damaged branch off ?
I'd really would appreciate your help. I'd don't have a clue as to what to do and they look unsightly.
Thanks, Dorian

Answer: Winter damage should be removed in the spring. It's too late in the year to do major pruning (pruning encourages new growth which, if not properly hardened-off, will succumb to additional winter damage). Wait until next spring then remove any dead branches. You can then prune the entire shrub back by as much as one-third without damaging it or retarding its growth.

Best wishes with your cotoneasters!

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