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Pruning Ninebark

Ninebark is a native shrub that has a fast growth rate. The common Ninebark typically grows 3 to 10 feet tall with a 4 to 6 foot spread. If left unattended to, the shrub quickly becomes unattractive and misshaped. Regular pruning will enhance the shrub’s appearance and overall health of the plant. Cutting back a Ninebark exposes the canopy to air. This can help to reduce the chance of powdery mildew developing.

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When to Prune Ninebark

One of the main reasons gardeners cut back a ninebark is to improve the overall appearance of the shrub. Pruning for shape is typically done in late spring or early summer. However, it can be completed anytime during the growing season. But, be sure to not prune anytime after mid-August.

The initial prune should be in the early spring, just after the first bloom cycle is complete. Remove ⅓ of the thick branches and stems. This may affect next year’s blooming. Pruning helps to rejuvenate the plant and encourages new bountiful flower and leaf growth in the spring.

To deadhead or do light pruning, snip the branch ¼ of an inch below a spent bloom. You can also prune a Ninebark to thin out the shrub, improving air circulation. Again, prune after it blooms, no later than mid August. Keep in mind that pruning may affect the amount of berries produced in the fall, but will not harm next year’s blooming.

How to Prune Ninebark

Step 1 - Disinfect shears to prevent the spread of disease.

Wipe the shears down with rubbing alcohol.

Step 2 - Cut back leggy branches.

Use pruning shears to cut branches ¼ of an inch above a spent bloom.

Step 3 - Remove larger branches in the middle of the shrub.

Use lopping shears and cut each branch to its origin.

Step 4 - Prune to shape the shrub.

Use pruning shears to snip off stray branches.

Step 5 - Cut the shrub down to the ground each year if necessary.

Usually completed if regular pruning does not take care of overgrown shrubs. Remove ⅓ of the thick branches and stems.

Note - this may affect next year’s blooming.

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Why Do You Prune Ninebark?

NInebark is a native shrub that has a fast growth rate. The common Ninebark typically grows 3 to 10 feet tall with a 4 to 6 foot spread. Without regular pruning, the shrub gets very leggy. You will want to keep up with pruning to maintain a desired shape and size. It is also a good idea to remove branches that are dead, twisted, or damaged. Pruning the plant just after it flowers will help to thin out the plant and encourage new growth. Older shrubs can be cut down close to the ground just before winter time. This will promote better flower and leaf production in the spring. Don’t worry if you think you cut the plant down too much. Ninebark shrubs bounce back easily.

Ninebark Pruning Tips

  • Prune to shape the shrub
  • Prune to control size
  • Prune to promote air circulation
  • Disinfect shears before and after pruning