caring for cotoneasters - Knowledgebase Question

kalamazoo, MI
Question by dfgquilter
October 21, 2007
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 from NGA
October 21, 2007


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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