Pruning Scotch Broom

When pruning Scotch Broom, timing is key to ensure prolific flowering the following year. Flowers appear on old wood, so pruning at the wrong time could delay or even prevent blooming. Only prune Scotch Broom directly after flowering. In summer, branches can be trimmed to maintain their shape or to remove spindly, dead, or crossing branches. Use sharp sterilized pruners, and cut the plant back by 1/3 to encourage fuller, lush foliage. Be sure to use a 45-degree angle so water runs off the stem to avoid rot. 


When to Prune Scotch Broom

Only prune Scotch Broom directly after it flowers. Depending on the variety, Scotch Broom shrubs bloom in spring or early summer. Because most varieties of Scotch Broom bloom on old wood, any pruning should be done just after flowering, whether to remove scraggly or damaged stems or for shaping and aesthetic purposes. Do this at the right time of the year to ensure masses of blooms the following season. If you prune in autumn or winter, you will decrease the number of flowers Scotch Broom produces the following year. 

If you notice broken, misshapen, dead, or diseased branches, remove them at any time. Immediately discard these branches, particularly if they have insect damage or if you see signs of disease, to avoid spreading the damage to the plant or other areas in your landscape. Do not compost these branches, discard them in regular waste disposal. 


Why Prune Scotch Broom

Many varieties of Scotch Broom grow over 4-6 ft or more in height. Because of their well-branching, shrubby habit, they will require selective pruning to keep their appearance neat. Once a year, prune directly after flowering, starting when the shrub is young. Remove up to 1/3 of the branches to open up the center of the shrub and keep it to a manageable size. Pruning is the best way to encourage healthier branching and better flowering. Remove any diseased or broken branches to keep your plant healthy. 

How to Prune Scotch Broom

Step 1 - Timing is key when pruning Scotch Broom. It sets buds for the following year after it finishes flowering, so pruning should be done directly after this season's flowers are finished. 

Step 2 - If you have any broken, diseased or dead branches, remove those at any time of the year. Do not compost them to avoid spreading disease. 

Step 3 - Begin a yearly maintenance pruning when Scotch Broom is young. This encourages good structure, promotes blooming, and prevents the shrub from looking shaggy. 

Step 4 - Be sure to use sterilized, sharp pruners to shape Scotch Broom. Cut stems at an angle and trim back prudently, taking off approximately 1/3 of the shrub at most each season. 

Scotch Broom Pruning Tips

  • Use sterile, sharp pruners
  • Prune directly after flowering
  • Prune 1/3 of branches, and begin shaping when the plant is young
  • Remove dead or broken branches at any time of the year
  • Cut branches at a 45-degree angle
  • Discard diseased branches, do not compost
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Author Chris Link - Published 01-26-2023