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Pruning Amelanchier - The service berry or juneberry

The Amelanchier group of shrubs or small trees do not require pruning normally - other than for shaping or controlling of size. Amelanchier normally grow into a regularly shaped upright but rounded shrub.

They are deciduous shrubs with some of the finest of autumn foliage colours. Depending upon soil type, this can be bright crimson or dazzling mix of gold and orange.

Amelanchier tolerate light shade, but are also happy in full sun shine. They are troublesome to grow, but can soon outgrow their position if not enough space allowed at planting. It is then in the main that they will require pruning - but otherwise best left un-pruned.


Amelanchiers are also known by their common names of

  • Serviceberry
  • Juneberry
  • Snowy Mespilus
  • Shadbush

Alelanchier laevis; Amelanchier lamarkii; Amelanchier grandiflorus and Amelanchier stolonifera.

Amelanchier laevis, showing the flowers that are normally present early spring - just before or at same time of foliage.

General Pruning

General pruning can be carried out in late Winter - but only for diseased, untidy and crossing branches. Any major surgery at this time of year will cut off the flowering growths for the incoming Spring.

If your Amelanchier needs corrective pruning to re-shape or bring to an acceptable size, then this should be carried out immediately after flowering in order to allow the shrub to start into growth and provide flowering branches for the next year. Any pruning of Amelanchier later in the year will probably prevent flowering in the following year. However, late pruning normally brings better autumn foliage colour with the newer leaves.

All in all, it is best not to prune Amelanchier unless absolutely necessary. This would normally require that you plant it in the right place in the first instance!

Cutting Amelanchier Back Hard

Older bush type Amelanchiers can be rejuvenated by cutting back hard at the start of the growing season. It will soon shoot out from the pruned branches. Be aware that as with all hard pruning, the plant will soon regain its original size again, for it has a root system that will support rapid growth.

This is not advisable for single stem small tree types.

Most shrubs can be given a new lease of life by cutting back hard. However, realise that the shrub will not stay small simply because you have given it a short back and sides. It will spring back into growth with a new enthusiasm.

Looking at the images the hedge structure and the bush structure are the same, just the bush has been allowed to grow and spread, the hedge has been regularly pruned and shaped.

The root systems are the same, the roots supply nutrients to the plant stems and shoots, as long as you have rich soil at their time of need, to ensure that the shrub gets back to 'normal size' as soon as possible.

A Hard Pruned Shrub

Cutting shrubs back hard to near the ground is the normal procedure for producing masses of new shoots and lush colourful foliage. It looks savage - but it works. The pruning should be carried out in early Spring (March), the start of the growing season.

Simply start cutting your Amelanchier down with shears, so you can clearly see the base structure. Then cut away any dead stems at their source, then cut back the healthy stems, leaving 10 to 15 cm.

Finally, your Amelanchier needs feeding, your soil needs a boost and a dressing of Fish Blood & Bonemeal - or your own favourite balanced fertilizer - to help the plant produce the strong growth required.

It is recommended to hard prune a Amelanchier shrub, once every 3 or 4 years.

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