Prune shrubs

Some shrubs, such as Philadelphus and the ornamental elders (Sambucus) get a bit out of hand over time, so this is a good time to cut them down to size. First, remove any dead, damaged or diseased shoots altogether, to ground level if necessary. Then, cut back all the older shoots by about half, cutting cleanly to outward-facing buds wherever possible. This is all a bit of a shock to the system, so mulch generously around the base and keep an eye on progress during the year. You may lose a season’s flowers, but future performance will be your reward.

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