How to Prune Viburnum Opulus

Written by kimberly johnson
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How to Prune Viburnum Opulus
The cranberry bush produces red berries in the fall. (viburnum image by wildman from

Viburnum opulus is known more commonly as Nocutt or a European cranberry bush. It produces small, white flowers in the spring which turn into red berries in the fall and early winter. It is a hardy, deciduous shrub that can grow up to 15 feet high and thrives in a wide variety of soil types. Because it grows rapidly in almost any conditions, pruning the plant is required to maintain the shrub at manageable heights.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Pruning shears
  • Loppers
  • Hedge trimmer

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  1. 1

    Pinch the tips of shrubs less than one year old to encourage them to develop additional branches. To pinch a shrub, place your fingers over the last 1 to 2 inches of each branch and squeeze your fingers together to break off the tip.

  2. 2

    Thin out shrubs older than one year by looking for dead and diseased branches. Cut off these branches 1/2 inch from where they attach to the main trunk using pruning shears or loppers. Use pruning shears for branches that are less than 1/4 inch in thickness and loppers for branches up to 1 1/2 inch in thickness.

  3. 3

    Locate any limbs that are growing at an awkward angle, or that are growing toward the centre of the bush rather than outward. Prune off these limbs near the trunk of the plant to enhance the appearance of the shrub as well as improve air circulation.

  4. 4

    Shape the shrub using a hedge trimmer and cut off the top 1 to 2 inches of branch tips until the desired shape is achieved.

Tips and warnings

  • The fruit of the Viburnum opulus shrub is not edible.

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