How to Trim a Snowberry Bush

Written by kimberly johnson
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How to Trim a Snowberry Bush
Garden gloves are essential for pruning snowberry, to avoid contact with sap. (George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Snowberry, which is also called Symphoricarpos rivularis, is a bushy shade tolerant shrub that produces pink, bell-shaped flower blossoms in the summer. Once flowers fade, they are replaced by clusters of white berries, for which the plant is named. Pruning the snowberry plant is mainly done to control the size. If not pruned -- or if planted without regard to how large this shrub will become -- it can choke out surrounding vegetation. When plants get too tall or too wide, shear them in late winter. Otherwise, prune to eliminate deadwood and suckers.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Garden gloves
  • Power or manual hedge trimmers
  • Loppers, if preferred
  • Bypass hand pruners, if preferred
  • Rake

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  1. 1

    Put on garden gloves before pruning the snowberry since the sap can cause allergic reactions.

  2. 2

    Plug in a pair of hedge trimmers and turn them on, or pick up your manual trimmers. Hold the trimmers parallel to the top of the snowberry bush and move it across the top evenly, if you're growing snowberry as a hedge, to trim the height down to the desired level. Repeat the trimming once per month during the growing season, or as needed to maintain the desired height.

    Prune to shape and limit the size of the plant with loppers and bypass hand pruners if you're growing it as a specimen plant or prefer a more natural form.

  3. 3

    Look at the interior of the snowberry bush for any branches that are lacking leaves near the ground. Prune these off near the base of the plant, using loppers or hand pruners, to allow more sunlight in and to increase foliage development.

  4. 4

    Rake up all of the pruned snowberry twigs and place them into your compost pile or a dustbin for disposal.

Tips and warnings

  • You can also wait until the early spring and use the hedge trimmers to cut the entire snowberry plant off approximately 1 to 2 inches above the ground. This rejuvenates the plant, which produces new healthy shoots almost immediately. For ease of maintenance, the plant is so hardy that it can be mowed down with a lawnmower during the spring to achieve complete rejuvenation.
  • Keep children and pets away from the snowberry bush and any trimmings, because this plant it is poisonous if ingested.

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