Crimson Barberry

judijerpen(z6aOH)September 20, 2004

I have a row of crimson barberry bushes that have the lovely red new growth at the tops.They are fine if you look at them from the top. However, they are 4 feet tall now and spindly. All you notice are 2+ feet of bare branches. Should I prune them back? How much should I cut off, and when should I do it...fall, winter, spring?

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ohio_homegrown(z5 OH)

I have them too, Mine have grown to at least 5' the past few years now. I have had to trim them these past couple of years to keep them below the house windows, they seem to get alot thicker when i do. I started selective trimming with pruners, now i use the electric hedge cutters because it would take me forever doing each branch. I've pruned after the fall color is about done and the leaves are half dropped and i have pruned in the middle of the summer to keep them from growing over the sidewalk. I have both varities tall and lower mound type, so go ahead and prune and i think they will thicken up for you. I would cut off a third.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2004 at 6:39PM
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bolecke(5 OH)

Myself, I would prune in the spring and then again in the summer or as needed. At a certain point I usually stop so the new growth doesn't get nipped by frost. Barberry actually respond well to shearing. I use hand shears just because I can get better cuts (easier to keep hand shears sharp for me).
1/3rd is a good rule to follow if you have to do some significant hacking. Who knows, maybe 1/2 might be needed in this case. I wouldn't suggest taking that much off unless I actually saw the plant.

If you have a plant that has been maintained then just take off all the scraggly stuff and perhaps go into the plant about 2 inches.

I am a staunch advocate of pruning with hand pruners, but I wouldn't waste my time on barberry.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2004 at 2:24PM
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