Pruning evergreens in summer

All evergreen shrubs, such as ceanothus, camellias and rhododendrons, are only borderline hardy. The young growth and leaves are vulnerable to cold and should be pruned in summer, once the frosts are over.


Discover eight reasons to prune in summer.

The main aim of pruning evergreens is to maintain their shape, control their growth and remove any frost-damaged stems. Ideally, prune before the new leaf buds open, so that energy is directed into the remaining stems.

Here are some tips for pruning evergreen shrubs.

The young growth and leaves are vulnerable to cold and should be pruned in summer.

Remove old wood

The main aim when pruning evergreens is to remove around a third of the old wood, taking away any crossing and congested branches.

Blue flowers on a variegated caenothus

Cut back to just above new buds

Trace back down the branches to where strong, new buds appear. Using secateurs or loppers, cut to just above these buds, so that sap from the plant is channelled into them.

Pink bloom of camellia ‘Crimson King’

Cut back vigorous sideshoots

Cut back vigorous sideshoots, cutting back above a bud. For plants that flowered earlier in the spring, this has the added advantage of cutting off any spent blooms.

Pruning a camelia

Encourage compact growth

Encourage compact growth by cutting back long, unproductive stems.


Lots of other plants can be pruned in summer, too, including wisteria. If you’re feeling daunted, read our guide to pruning wisteria in summer.

Pruning a long stem

How Far Back Can I Cut Aucuba Japonica

Answer #1 · Maple Tree’s Answer · Hi Mo-A good time to prune the Aucuba is March to late spring. The Aucuba japonica tolerates heavy pruning without any problems and recovers fairly quickly.
At this time I would prune the plant back 1/3 of its size. Prune the stems back to within an inch or so of a leaf bud. This way you won’t end up with a plant with ugly leafless stems sticking out. The plant sounds as though it has grown quite large and may be looking somewhat woody at the base or just to large for its location. This can be improved by cutting out one-stem-in-three each year starting with the oldest stems, until the whole plant has been rejuvenated. This way new bottom growth will start to fill in the bottom portion of the plant at the same time you still have a nice size plant filling your landscape or garden. If you would like to prune out a few more larger stems than this to acquire the size plant you want within a few years you can do so. This plant will recover nicely. This is also a good time to prune out any damaged or dead stems within the plant. Be sure to use a sharp pair of hand pruners for the smaller stems and loppers for the older or larger stems. It is best never to use hedge trimmers as these cut and tear the beautiful leaves leaving a somewhat battered looking aucuba.
I noted below a link to an article you may be interested in regarding ‘How To Prune Shrubs’. Just click on this link to go directly to this article in Gardenality.

Hope this helped – John)

Viburnum tinus ‘Lisarose’ is a shrub whose reputation comes from its cute fall flowering, that adds a touch of color to the garden.

Lisarose Viburnum facts

Name – Viburnum tinus ‘Lisarose’
Family – Adoxaceae (formerly Caprifoliaceae)
Type – shrub

Height – 6 ½ feet (2 meters)
Exposure – full sun to shade
Soil – rich enough

Foliage – evergreen
Flowering – November to March

Planting Viburnum tinus ‘Lisarose’

Viburnum tinus is ideally planted in fall, but can also be planted in spring if it is purchased in pots or in containers.

Apart from fall and spring, avoid days where there is either strong heat, or below freezing temperatures.

  • It adapts quite well to various types of soil and locations.
  • It likes sun-bathed spots in winter, but is uncomfortable in locations that are too hot in summer.
  • Water regularly over the 2 first years after planting.
  • To enhance its first spring growth, follow our guidance for planting.

Potted Viburnum tinus

Its rather compact size lets it adapt well to growing in pots, which allows for decorating a balcony and terrace in fall and winter.

  • Provide a good-sized pot with drainage holes.
  • Plant your Viburnum tinus in soil mix, ideally special planting or horticultural soil mix.
  • Provide for regular watering, especially during summer.

Pruning and caring for Viburnum tinus Lisarose

Maintenance is reduced, especially when the shrub is well settled in.

Nonetheless, you may provide it with flower shrub fertilizer in spring to boost its growth, avoid diseases and enhance blooming.

In summer, in case of high temperatures and/or extended dry spell, remember to water in the morning or in the evening, without flooding roots.

Pruning Viburnum tinus

Its small size (around 6 ½ feet (2 meters) tall and 6 ½ feet (2 meters) wide) makes it a shrub that doesn’t need pruning.

But if you wish to reduce it or balance the branches out, especially if potted, follow these steps.

  • Wait for the end of the blooming, in spring, to prune.
  • Refer to our guidelines on pruning shrubs.

Viburnum tinus ‘Lisarose’, a boon for bees

Like most plants of the Viburnum genus, the ‘Lisarose’ variety blooms from the end of fall to the beginning of spring. It provides nectar and pollen to insects that are still active in that season.

During warm spells, beehives may send a few workers out even at the heart of winter to forage and recover more food. Growing Viburnum tinus ‘Lisarose’ ensures bees will return home with a bountiful load!

Learn more about Viburnum tinus

Viburnum tinus or laurestine is a small compact evergreen shrub that blooms very beautifully in fall and over winter.

Floral buds are cute bright pink, which marks a stark contrast to the magnificent red-colored branches. Everything is wrapped around with deep dark green leaves to create an ensemble that is simply beautiful.

Pretty hardy, it resists low temperatures down to 14°F (-10°C) or even down to 5°F (-15°C) if only for a short while.

Potted Viburnum tinus is the ideal solution on a terrace or a balcony.

Smart tip about Viburnum tinus

If you live in an area where the climate is very harsh in winter, choose a very sunny spot sheltered from wind.

This will extend the duration of the blooming, since flowers won’t be subject to the coldest and most violent gusts.

Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Budding Viburnum tinus ‘Lisarose’ flowers by Stefan/adobestock
Bee on Viburnum tinus ‘Lisarose’ blossoms by Maxal Tamor/adobestock

Growing Mahonia

The most commonly grown Mahonia are upright and tall but in fact there are many varieties with of different sizes although all tend to be fast growing. The group of Mahonia known as M. x media are all upright varieties and illustrated below above center and right is ‘Charity’ which has lovely yellow fragrant flowers. The upright varieties are the most common, but there are also a low growing varieties, Mahonia repens, which grows up to 30cms, illustrated in the image below right and can be used as ground cover.

The most popular varieties grown in UK gardens are:

Mahonia x media which grows up to 5m high 4 m wide and flowers from late autumn to early winter; good varieties are ‘Charity’, ‘Winter sun’ and ‘Lionel Fortescue’ and all are very hardy H4. These have large upright yellow, scented flowers. ‘Charity’ can be grown in a north facing spot which makes it a good shrub for a difficult growing area.

Mahonia fortunei smaller 1.2m high 1 m wide which flowers in the autumn

Mahonia aquifolium known as the Oregon Grape, image left is a smaller compact variety, up to 1.5 metres, very hardy and is spring flowering in March and April followed by blue black berries.

Recently the RHS have awarded Garden Merit (AGM) to Mahonia x media Underway which reaches up to 3m and has large erect spikes of fragrant yellow flowers in the winter.

Mahonia japonica is also hardy to H4, a mid sized shrub growing up to 2m.

A recent introduction is a red flowering Mahonia called Mahonia nitens ‘Cabaret’ which flowers in late summer and autumn.

When growing Mahonia you do not have to prune the shrub, but a light prune, from time to time after flowering, will trim the shrub into shape and remove any dead branches.

Mahonia look good under planted with snow drops and Hellebores to provide a mixed winter border. Suitable companion shrubs would be Berberis if making a thorny hedge, or Rhododendron, Azalea and Viburnum if planting a mixed shrub border.

The best sort of winter colour is that blazing flush of your cheeks from the first post-Christmas dig, when you decide you can linger on the couch no longer and you haul yourself outside – ideally in a nice new scarf or woolly hat. But the weather may have other ideas, so when all you can do is crunch about on frozen ground, it’s a good idea to have something pretty to look at.

I love the long, arching racemes of Mahonia japonica or M. x media that appear from late autumn into spring. Their sunny, yellow flowers are reflected against a dark, glossy backdrop of leaves: in midsummer this would be harsh, but it works on a cold day and the scent is something else. It is a good wildlife plant, too – the flowers are useful to foraging bees, which are often out way earlier than you’d think, the fruit is edible (to both us and birds) and the prickly, evergreen foliage makes a good hideaway for smaller birds.

Mahonias are woodland plants that crave shade and will tolerate only a little sun, so they’re good for dull corners. M. x media ‘Charity’ is one of the most popular on account of its bright yellow, fragrant flowers, but it can grow big (up to 5m). It’s the sort that’s employed for winter cheer outside offices and in car parks. M. x media ‘Winter Sun’ is even more optimistic – its bright yellow flowers don’t seem to mind the cold one bit and, as its name suggests, it offers a sunny take on midwinter.

I prefer M. japonica, with its soft, lemon-fragrant, yellow flowers (pictured). It reaches 2m, so is more suited to smaller spaces. Despite the spiny leaves, I cut the flowers for indoors – they don’t last long, but the scent is much like lily of the valley.

Mahonias need little pruning; just remove the dead wood and anything growing in the wrong place. Do this after flowering in late spring. Cut older wood back to ground level (or stronger growth), leaving younger stuff unpruned. Older bushes can get sparse and leggy, so if you have such a beast, prune the lot back to 30-45cm high, though it will take time to recover. (It’s more caring to tackle the job over several years, cutting back a third at a time.)

If mahonias take your fancy, dig a hole once the weather allows, and plant. Remember, new plantings can suffer from what appears to be drought even in winter, because all available water has frozen in the soil and the poor plants are thirsty. The minute the soil defrosts, they get to drink again, but some warmish water now and then is a nice gesture. Water around midday, so it has time to soak in before the night freeze returns. And then turn the compost. Go on, it’ll make you feel better.

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