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How to prune nandina domestica

Updated February 21, 2017

Nandina domestica is an evergreen shrub that has bamboo-like leaves, which causes it to have a common name of Heavenly Bamboo. The leaves, which are typically light green, change to a deep orange or red colour in the fall. In addition, during the fall and winter the bush develops red berry clusters similar to those of hollies. The shrub requires very little care and pruning should only be performed once per year to control the height of the plant.

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  1. Wait until the winter and look at the Nandina domestica. Identify any stems that have no leaves and are brown, meaning that they are dead. Prune them off at the surface of the ground using loppers.

  2. Grasp any healthy stem on the plant and use the loppers to prune it off at the ground level, just as you did with the dead ones. Repeat the process to prune back 1/4 of the remaining healthy stems to ground level.

  3. Grasp one of the remaining stems and locate an area that is 1/3 the height of the plant. Prune it off at the location using the loppers or hand pruners. To determine the proper cutting location, measure the total height of the stem and divide by 3. Then measure that distance up from the ground. Repeat the pruning process on 1/4 of the remaining stems.

  4. Prune 1/4 of the remaining uncut stems back to a height of two-thirds their original height using the hand pruners or loppers.

  5. Tip

    Pruning in this manner not only controls height, but it also promotes lush growth and prevents the plant from having long stems with little foliage.

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Things You'll Need

  • Loppers
  • Hand pruners
  • Tape measure

About the Author

Kimberly Johnson is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in various online publications including eHow, Suite101 and Examiner. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and began writing professionally in 2001.

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