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physocarpus

Is it too late to prune a physocarpus which has reached about 10ft.  I don't want to ruin it as it is a very attractive shrub but it's taking over a corner of the garden now and I would like to reduce the size considerably if poss?  

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  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 27,623
    The best time to prune is immediately after flowering finishes so the shrub has time to put on new growth which will flower the following season.  If you prune it hard now you may risk frost damage to the ends of the stems if winter is hard.

    I would advise taking out a third of the stems to the base now, choosing the ones with the oldest looking bark and being sure to remove any that look damaged or are rubbing against others.    Give it a good feed of bonemeal to help keep it healthy over winter and encourage flowering next year.

    As soon as it finishes flowering next spring/summer, take out another third right to the base and then cut the remainder back to a size and shape that pleases you.  This way you'll keep next year's flowers and have less risk of the shrub dying of shock.   It will also have time to regenerate and grow new flowering stems for the following season.

    In subsequent years, cut it back immediately after flowering to maintain size and cut out out one third of the stems - again choosing the oldest - to keep it renewed and fresh. 
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Much appreciate your very helpful reply.  Will get on with that today.  
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 27,623
    Hope it works.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
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