How & When to Prune Viburnum

Viburnum produce an abundance of blossoms in spring and early summer. These leafy shrubs come in both evergreen and deciduous varieties with flowers that vary in colour from white to pink. In fall the bushes are covered in yellow, red or dark blue berries that attract birds and wildlife. Viburnums require minimal maintenance, though infrequent pruning keeps them healthy and looking their best. The bushes must be pruned at the correct time, otherwise they won't flower as well the next year.

Cut out winter-damaged branches in early spring before new growth begins. Remove these branches where they join the nearest healthy wood, using a pair of sharp shears.

Thin out overgrown viburnum bushes in early spring while the plant is dormant or in late spring immediately after flowering. Remove up to one-third of the branches, cutting them back to the ground or to where they join with the main trunk.

Shape the viburnum in late spring after flowering. Cut back the bush to the desired height, width and shape and remove up to a third of the plant's height. Make each cut within ΒΌ inch of a leaf or leaf bud. Leave some old flowers on the plant if you want berries to form in the fall.


Viburnum require infrequent pruning and can go up to five years before a full trim is necessary. Only dead and damaged wood needs yearly removal. Prune out damaged branches at any time of year. Dead and damaged wood can provide an entry point for insects and disease organisms if left on the plant.


Pruning in late summer removes flower buds and prevents the viburnum from flowering fully the following spring.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
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About the Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications. Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.