Pruning for colourful stems or large foliage

When some shrubs are pruned hard, they regrow vigorously producing more colourful stems that brighten up the garden in winter. Others can also be hard-pruned to create a large-leaved effect. These methods, when applied to trees, are often called coppicing and pollarding, but when applied to small shrubs the term ‘stooling’ is commonly used.  Such plants fall into RHS Pruning group 7.

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Pruning a willow can produce vibrant stems that look good in winter.

Quick facts

Suitable for: Coloured-stemmed shrubs such as dogwoods (Cornus) and some trees
Timing: Late winter (February) to mid-spring (April)
Difficulty: Easy

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The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.