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Garden plants to prune in February to encourage ‘high yields’ of shrubs

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As February gives way to hints of Spring, gardeners are encouraged to take extra measures to prepare their plants for flowering. 

Certain varieties will require less care than others, but pruning them could still prove necessary to boost their health, structure and aesthetic appeal. 

Experts at Southern Living Plants Collection: “The bulk of shrub pruning occurs in late winter when plants are dormant, just before new growth begins to emerge. 

“This is also a good time to clean up beds by butting back ornamental grasses and perennials. Pay close attention to fruiting shrubs to encourage high yields.

To guide gardeners, the outlet composed a list of evergreens that need pruning in February so that shape up in time for Spring.

READ MORE:Lavender will only live longer and bloom profusely if pruned at the best time

Starting with broadleaf evergreens, they recommend paying attention to abelia, boxwood, cleyera, Elaeagnus, nandina, privet and holly.

Southern Living adds: “Viburnums (both evergreen and deciduous) can be cut back hard to reduce the size, but you will sacrifice flowers for the season. Wait until after flowering for light pruning.

“Needled evergreens including arborvitae, juniper, and yews can be shaped in late winter. Take care not to cut back into old wood.”

When pruning, gardeners are encouraged to use clean, sharp tools to make as precise a cut as possible.

It is also recommended to prune back to the lateral branch or bud to encourage the tree to grow in the desired direction.


For varieties of broadleaf evergreens like hollies and boxwoods, selective hand pruning is generally preferred over shearing to create a more natural shape.

Gardeners should also be aware that it will take time for their results to become visible.

The attractive shape of the plant will become more apparent by Spring, notes the Royal Horticultural Society.

As well as improving the overall appearance of the plants, the pruning will encourage plants to bloom for longer.

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