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Cutting back a pathway

In the garden I have recently inherited my lawn narrows into a 1.5m wide path through to another part of garden, which at the minute is overgrown with nettles and brambles.

Every time I walk through the narrow opening I have to bend down and squeeze through below the apple tree branches and dodge past a purple flowered shrub (see photo).

My question is, when can I safely cut the shrub back? I have no idea what it is, but it looks pretty. Unfortunately all the vegetation on it appears to be over the lawn and the section in the border is very woody. And when should/can I cut back some of the apple tree branches so I can walk upright!






  • Apples can be pruned after leaf fall during winter. I don't recognise the shrub, the leaves look similar to Buddleja, but the flowers don't. As it is flowering now I would say that you should prune it at the end of winter.

  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,160

    I think it's a caryopteris. Usually cut back hard in late winter but given the circumstances I'd probably do it early winter and the apple as soon as the leaves drop.


  • It definitely looks like caryopteris, but I wouldn't cut it back too hard and certainly not into the old wood as it won't recover - bit like lavender.  I'd prune it late winter/early spring after the frosts and cut it back to suit your needs for space but make sure you don't go into the old wood.

  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,160

    Really? I hack those back to a stump every year

    but I make up my own rulesimage

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