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Pruning a pyracantha

RubyRossRubyRoss Posts: 124
edited September 2022 in Tools and techniques

How should I prune this three year old pyracantha Orange Glow? Without doing anything I’ve been rewarded with an abundance of flowers and berries, but it looks like it needs guidance now. I want to cover the wall, which edges the veg patch. I will plant another one when I’ve cleared the wood piles. 

Should I clip the top of those vertical stems to encourage branching? Do I need to worry about branches growing into each other or is that the point?



  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 11,944
    It certainly has a fine crop of berries  :)
    I would be inclined to leave it for now and let the birds take them as it doesn't seem to be encroaching onto a path or anything.

    I expect someone will be along with advice, in the meantime l found this
  • Thanks, that thread is helpful. I will leave it until Spring as - aside from the birds - I enjoy looking at the berries.
  • I'd agree with @annid about letting the birds get the berries, as there won't be much more growth on the plant now that we are heading into October.

    Do you want a formal clipped hedge, or just a loose bush type structure? Pruning out the top growth will encourage side shoots, so I would do that next Spring if you don't want the plant to grow taller than the wall. Spring to Autumn is the best time to prune, and ideally after it has blossomed, as the bees love it. 

    If the plant is growing too far out from the wall, trimming it at the front will also encourage side shoots. It's doesn't matter if the shoots criss cross. We have a huge Pyracantha hedge, and it is a dense mass of criss-crossing shoots. They are very forgiving of severe pruning. We normally have to cut ours 2-3 times per year, as they grow quite fast when established. 

    Personally, I think they look best when formally trimmed, rather than left as a natural bush shape, but you do tend to lose some berries when trimming them.  Don't be tempted to plant your other ones too close to the existing plant, as they can grow to  be several metres wide given enough time.
  • Thank you @KeenOnGreen for that excellent advice. Yes, my plan is a clipped hedge as I primarily want to cover the wall and any flowers or berries are a bonus. If it will reach several meters wide, I probably don't need another one. Thanks
  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,412
    If you can drill some vine eyes and wires into the wall, you'll be able to train it along the wall quite nicely, snip out the top and then tie in the side shoots horizontally. That will make it easier to make the growth go where you want it!
  • Thanks @Loxley that would make sense. I'll have to find someone to do that for them. I'll like to keep a good shape on it.
  • I'm sending you this as inspiration @RubyRoss  Most people (including me) wouldn't have the time or patience to do it. It's a Pyracantha hedge at York Gate Garden in Leeds. Very worth a visit if you are nearby.

  • That is impressive!
  • Yes, I wish mine looked as good.  I grow Pyracantha against an East-facing wall and just prune off the outward-facing and backward-facing shoots...a prickly job but necessary, and try to follow a pattern a bit like an espaliered apple with the branches.
  • ErgatesErgates Posts: 2,418
    Careful with the cuttings! Last time I pruned mine, I managed to step on a thorn which went right through the sole of my sensible walking shoes. Very painful!
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