Barberry Shrubs
Q.

Barberry bush pruning

Zone Chicago IL, Zone 5b | scotte added on July 17, 2017 | Answered

I have a large barberry bush that I'd like to trim waaaayyy back. It's approximately 4 ft high, 3-1/2 ft wide or so. It has not been pruned in many, many years. It is encroaching on an adjacent Japanese Maple (which I'd like to free up space around to encourage better growth). How far back can I successfully prune the barberry and when is the best time to do that? Thanks! Scott

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MichiganDot
Answered on July 17, 2017

It is a tough plant. I'd do it now and start at the bottom. Remove the oldest/fattest/worst thorny stems to the ground. Remove dead wood and branches that rub against each other or lean all the way across the plant then reduce the height to what you desire. Pruning stimulates new growth and if done late in the growing season, it will produce growth that doesn't have time to harden off before winter. Winter kill of the new growth invites disease.

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