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How to Prune Mahonia

Updated April 17, 2017

Mahonia, commonly referred to as Oregon grape, is an evergreen shrub with dark blue berries and glossy, leathery leaves. There are dozens of species of Mahonia. While other plants lay dormant during the winter months, Mahonia provides a welcome burst of colour to the winter landscape. Its yellow flowers bloom from late winter through February or April. Mahonia typically grows 4 to 10 feet tall and 5 feet wide. Pruning is best done in late summer.

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  1. Prune out old, woody canes. Cut out about one-third of them. This encourages new growth.

  2. Trim stems back to shape. Cut above a leaf joint, where the leaf attaches to the stem.

  3. Cut stems to different heights to create a well rounded, manicured look. If you prefer a bushy look, leave some stems near the ground. Work up from the bottom when trimming and cut the stems longer as you work toward the top.

  4. If necessary, cut out a branch to reduce the spread of the shrub. Continue shaping until the desired look is achieved.

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Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears

About the Author

Amy Hannaford teaches childbirth education classes and a healthy pregnancy series in Southern Oregon. Hannaford holds an Associate of Arts degree, a certificate in medical assisting, and has been a childbirth educator and birth doula for 20 years. She has been writing articles for Demand Media since 2008.

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