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Serviceberry Plants

Q.Service Berry pruning

Zone 48070 | crvalentine added on December 12, 2018 | Answered

I have a 15 foot tall service berry with large canopy and multiple branches. I would like to trim it down to approximately 4 to 5 feet high. Would it come back fuller? Or would this kill it? The birds love it in the spring so I don’t want to kill it. It is so large and sloppy looking next to my front porch.

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on December 12, 2018

These can tolerate pruning quite heavily with no harm to the tree. This will be done right before spring, or sometimes during late winter.

This article will help you to care for this tree: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/fruits/serviceberries/growing-serviceberries.htm

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Answered on December 13, 2018

I think you have an example of a nice plant in the wrong place. Your serviceberry can be reduced in size but this will need to be done repeatedly as it grows. That is frustrating for you and the plant. If you prune heavily in winter, you greatly reduce the number of flowers next spring because those buds are already formed. As an early bloomer, you can safely wait to prune until just after it blooms. Serviceberry responds to pruning by producing new twigs closer to the ground, sometimes an excessive number, and it might send up suckers. To prevent water-sprouts, those unsightly branches that go straight upwards after the ends of branches are removed, look for branches that can be cut back to a major "Y" or trunk. The remaining Y branch must be no less than 1/3rd the diameter of the branch you remove. Check out online videos on proper pruning technics. If you don't know the terms branch collar, branch bark ridge and 3-cut technique, spend time to learn them. Poor pruning techniques may seriously affect the health of your serviceberry.

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