Renewal Pruning

What is renewal pruning? Renewal pruning is referred to as rejuvenation pruning; the severe cutback of deciduous shrubs for a response of new, succulent growth. This is done to a number of shrubs to promote better health, prolonged life, and better fruiting and flowering of the plant. Rejuvenation is usually done in later winter or early spring, depending on the species of plant. Burning bushes Euonymus alatus can be pruned hard in late fall without any damage to the plant or flowering. 


There are different flowering times of shrubs and this can affect the normal pruning times for these shrubs. With renewal pruning, flowering times are ignored as plants that flower on old wood (previous season’s growth) are cut severely back, removing the flowering potential for that year. On plants that flower on new growth, renewal pruning can be done yearly or bi-yearly as needed. Sometimes just removing the oldest branches of a shrub can be considered renewal pruning, such as on lilacs Syringa vulgaris. 

The author prunes the older branches from his lilac every 3 years

Most shrubs do not need to be renewal pruned unless they are not pruned regularly, or if they have become overgrown and woody over time. These shrubs include old-fashioned lilac, viburnums, oakleaf and panicled hydrangea, barberry, forsythia, chokeberry, azalea, quince, sweetspire, privet, kerria, potentilla, sumac, buckthorn, bridal wreath spirea, and weigela. 

Quince does not need renewal pruning often to maintain health and vigor, every 5 to 7 years is fine

Shrubs that thrive from yearly renewal prunings include butterfly bush, chaste-tree, beautyberry, ninebark, blue-mist, buttonbush, smokebush, deutzia, Rose-of-Sharon, crape myrtle, roses, willow, elderberry, Japanese spirea, and bigleaf hydrangeas. 

Before renewal pruning on dogwood
After renewal pruning on dogwood

If you need more information or would like to schedule some renewal pruning for February, please call Grimm’s Gardens today!


Happy planting!

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