Pruning barberry: the right time, how to form a crown, curly pruning

Thorny barberry is now a frequent visitor to personal plots. Gardeners are attracted primarily not by fruits, which have an extremely sour taste, but by the appearance of the bushes. But the barberry grows very much. Therefore, if it is planted for decorative purposes, regular and competent pruning is necessary.

General information about barberry

Barberry is a thorny shrub with edible fruits, originating from the countries of Asia and the Caucasus. The long-lived plant does not require special care and is used not only to obtain useful berries, but also to decorate land. Despite its southern origin, barberry has sufficient winter hardiness and is successfully grown in Central Russia.

Barberry looks very elegant during flowering

There are many varieties of barberry, both deciduous and evergreen. Regardless of the type, they are all armed with the sharpest spines - simple, triple or quintuple. Flowering occurs at a variety of times. For example, Siberian barberry is distinguished by early flowering (from mid-May), medium (late May - early June) - oblong and whole-edged barberry, late (second half of June - early July) - Gerald's barberry and mint barberry.

Most species of barberry are excellent honey plants, as their small yellow flowers are very fragrant and attract bees well. By the end of summer - beginning of autumn, the bushes dress in a bright outfit of berries, which are red, purple, dark blue or black.

Regardless of the variety, the berries are very sour. Nevertheless, they are traditionally used in the preparation of pilaf and other meat dishes.

In autumn, the barberry is decorated with bright berries and purple leaves.

The decorative qualities of barberry are preserved throughout the season. In autumn, in deciduous barberries, the bright color of the leaves and berries creates an extraordinary effect.

When planting barberry in order to obtain a harvest, it is necessary to allocate a well-lit place for the shrub. Barberry is fed starting from the second year, usually with complex fertilizers. The shrub needs little watering - it has excellent drought resistance, watering is enough 3 times per season. Protection from pests is usually reduced to the destruction of aphids using, for example, Inta-vira.

Do I need to trim

If the barberry is given the opportunity to grow freely, the bush gradually spreads to the sides due to the root suckers. In addition, the growth of the shrub is quite impressive - up to 3-4 m, the branches are spreading, so without regular pruning it will quickly turn your site into a thorny jungle.

Be aware that long and sharp thorns can make pruning a bloody event. So it's worth stocking up on thick gloves and long-handled tools.

The pruning tool must be well honed - firstly, because the branches of the barberry are quite strong, and secondly, dull blades can injure them.

Trimming time

You can prune barberry in both spring and autumn. Spring is considered the best time for any kind of pruning. The main thing is to carry out the procedure before the start of sap flow - in March-April.

If you do not want to form a bush in some special way, then it is enough only to remove broken and thickening branches in a timely manner, as well as periodically rejuvenate the plant. Deciduous barberries are pruned in early spring, before bud break, and evergreen barberries - immediately after flowering. The crown of the barberry is well formed by itself - the branches grow almost vertically. In order for the bush to remain in constant shape, you need to eliminate all unnecessary trunks by cutting them into a ring.

To trim you need to take a pruner with long handles

In the fall, you need to have time to finish the haircut before the frost. But you need to start not before fruiting ends. Autumn pruning, depending on the variety, is carried out in September-October.

It is believed that autumn is good for rejuvenating the bush. Plants usually rejuvenate at the age of 10–12 years. In this case, all old trunks are cut out at the very ground. If the bush is too thick, you can cut out some of the young shoots. In the fall, you can carry out sanitary pruning, as well as remove excess growth.

How to form barberry in the first years after planting

Barberry, in general, is not difficult to cut. Even a beginner can easily cope with this task (unless, of course, he wants to give the bush some exotic shape). In the first year, immediately after planting, all weak shoots are removed, and the strong ones are shortened to a well-developed bud. By autumn, the bush grows and begins to branch.

The simplest way to form barberry is made in three stages, as a result of which a moderately spreading bush is formed

For more abundant branching (giving the bush a rounded shape) in the second year in spring, shoots are planted on a stump - cut low, leaving stumps 9-10 cm high. In autumn, a wider dense crown of young shoots is formed. From the third year, this procedure is repeated, but each time the hemp is made higher than in the previous year. You can also neglect repetitions of planting on a stump, and limit yourself only to regular sanitary and thinning pruning.

Barberry reacts calmly to pruning, but you should not shorten the shoots too much, especially if you are counting on a harvest.

To give a certain shape, the bush is formed gradually, laying 3-4 skeletal branches in the first year, and in subsequent years, during pruning, leaving another 1-2 main branches. Thus, due to the natural difference in growth, it is possible to form a crown close to pyramidal.


  • Do not rush to perform pruning. Before shredding everything, carefully examine the bush.
  • Try to shorten the shoots to a well-developed bud.
  • Slices should be done at a slight slope and as close to the eyelet as possible so that hemp does not turn out.
  • The cut surface must be absolutely flat, bark jam and burrs are unacceptable. If they are, then you are carelessly cutting or using a blunt tool.
  • When removing side shoots, cut directly along the annular ridge (the base of the shoot) - if you leave a stump, it will interfere with healing and provoke infection of the plant.

Curly trim

Although the barberry is very prickly, it forms easily. The type of crown depends entirely on the owner's imagination - you can form a ball, pyramid, column or some kind of geometric figure.

Photo gallery: various forms of the barberry bush

The required number of trunks will depend on the purpose of the bush. A small number of powerful trunks will be sufficient if the bush is single. If a hedge is formed from barberry, the number of shoots should correspond to its length and width.

To maintain the specified width, it is necessary to remove all trunks growing to the side at the root.

To give the barberry bush any specific shape during spring pruning, all annual growths must be greatly shortened to a length of 5-6 cm. Try to immediately give the outline of the bush the planned shape. During the season, the plant is allowed to freely form new growths. Then, within 3-4 years, the shrub is trimmed 2 times a year (before budding and as the growth lengthens). As soon as young shoots reach a length of 8–10 cm, they are cut in half.

For the formation of a hedge, rectangular or trapezoidal shapes are suitable.

It should be borne in mind that each plant has a tendency to some particular form. Without pruning, the barberry grows in the form of a sprawling, disheveled ball. And when trimming, the easiest way is to give it a cone shape.

Of course, out of habit it is very difficult to cut a bush in a geometric shape. Therefore, it is better to stock up on a template. The template can be made by yourself. To do this, draw the required contour on some flat surface (for example, on asphalt) and bend a thick wire pattern along it.

To create a spherical crown, make a wire template - a semicircle on a leg

Then the finished template is inserted into the center of the bush, slightly sticking it into the ground and scrolling around the axis. At the same time, all the shoots protruding beyond the outline of the template are cut off.

Using a wire template, you can give the bush a spherical shape

To form a cube or ball, a frame of slats can help, which limits the required size of the bush.

If you create a rack frame around the bush, you can easily cut it to the desired shape.

Thus, with simple devices and a certain amount of imagination, you can decorate your site with beautiful bushes of various shapes (and if different varieties of barberry are planted, then in color).

Video: beautiful pruning of barberry

Gardeners reviews

Pruning barberry requires some skill. Nevertheless, the labor expended will pay off when multi-colored bushes of an unusual shape appear on your site.

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Hello! My name is Maria, 40 years old. My main job is teaching technical subjects.

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Caring for barberry in the garden means pruning as well. Many novice gardeners do not understand whether this procedure is mandatory or not. This largely depends on the type of trim itself:

  • sanitary should be done every year so that the plant does not waste energy and nutrients on dry or painful branches
  • forming is done exclusively at the request of the gardener and his plans for the shrub
  • anti-aging is recommended to improve the decorative qualities of the bush.

Barberry in the open field

Depending on the gardener's plans, it is worth deciding in which case pruning is required and in which it can be avoided. Ordinary barberry without proper care will quickly spread throughout the site due to the possibility of reproduction through root suckers.

Important! During pruning, you must protect your hands from sharp thorns. This requires the preparation of thick gloves. It is recommended to sharpen the tool well (preferably using one with long handles and thick blades), since the branches are strong enough.

Why is pruning barberry important?

Why you need to prune the shrub:

  1. Without crown formation, this thorny shrub takes on a sloppy shape.
  2. And picking berries from such plants is problematic: hands have to be protected with gloves. And on the remaining fruits, pests and fungal spores can winter.
  3. A well-formed bush decorates the site. Several plants planted in a row can serve as a hedge. But without timely intervention, the gardener runs the risk of getting painful scratches.

You cannot start pruning the shrub: it is quite difficult to form a thickened crown.

What tools will be needed

For effective pruning of barberry bushes, the following tools and materials are needed:

  • garden pruner with sharpened blades
  • a tool for pruning knots (required for working with old and heavily thickened bushes)
  • protective tight gloves
  • disinfectant, such as potassium permanganate solution
  • oil paint or garden var (necessary for processing sections with a diameter exceeding 5 millimeters).

All work on pruning barberry shrubs should be done in a thick fabric jacket.

Watch the video: Barberry Bush Care: Professional Gardening Tips

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