Barberry pruning: the right time, how to form a crown, curly pruning

Prickly barberry is now a frequent guest of personal plots. Gardeners are primarily attracted not by the fruits, which differ extremely sour taste, but by the appearance of the bushes. But barberry grows very much. Therefore, if it is planted for decorative purposes, regular and competent pruning is necessary.

General information about barberry

Barberry is a thorny bush with edible fruits, originating from the countries of Asia and the Caucasus. A long-lived plant does not require special care and is used not only to obtain healthy berries, but also to decorate land. Despite its southern origin, barberry has sufficient winter hardiness and is successfully grown in Central Russia.

Barberry looks very elegant during flowering

There are many varieties of barberry, both deciduous and evergreen. Regardless of the type, they are all armed with sharp thorns - simple, triple or five. Flowering occurs at a very different time. For example, the Siberian barberry is distinguished by early flowering (from mid-May), the oblong and one-piece barberry is medium (late May - early June), Geralda barberry and moneto barberry are late (the second half of June - early July).

Most types of barberry are wonderful honey plants, as their small yellow flowers are very fragrant and attract bees well. Towards the end of summer - the beginning of autumn, bushes dress in a bright outfit of berries that are red, purple, dark blue or black.

Regardless of the variety, the berries are very sour. Nevertheless, they are traditionally used in the preparation of pilaf and other meat dishes.

In autumn, barberry is decorated with bright berries and purple leaves.

The decorative benefits of barberry are preserved throughout the season. In autumn, deciduous barberries have a bright color of leaves and berries creates an extraordinary effect.

When planting barberry in order to obtain a crop, it is necessary to allocate a well-lit place for the bush. Barberry has been fed since the second year, usually with complex fertilizers. The bush needs little watering - it has excellent drought tolerance, watering enough 3 times per season. Protection from pests usually comes down to the destruction of aphids using, for example, Intavira.

Do I need to trim

If barberry is given the opportunity to grow freely, the bush gradually "spreads" to the sides due to root offspring. In addition, the growth of the shrub is quite impressive - up to 3-4 m, the branches are sprawling, so without regular pruning it will quickly turn your site into a prickly jungle.

Keep in mind that long and sharp spikes can turn cropping into a "bloody" event. So it is worth stocking up with thick gloves and a tool on long handles.

The trimming tool should be well-honed - firstly, because the branches of the barberry are quite strong, and secondly, blunt blades can injure them.

Pruning time

You can prune barberries in spring and autumn. Spring is considered the best time for any type of pruning. The main thing is to carry out the procedure before the sap flow begins - in March-April.

If you do not want to form a bush in any special way, then it is enough to clean the broken and thickening branches in a timely manner, as well as periodically rejuvenate the plant. Deciduous barberries are pruned in early spring, before buds open, and evergreens - immediately after flowering. The crown of barberry is well formed itself - the branches grow almost vertically. In order for the bush to remain in constant form, you need to eliminate all unnecessary trunks by cutting them into a ring.

To trim you need to take a secateurs with long handles

In autumn, you need to have time to finish the “haircut” before frost. But you need to start no earlier than fruiting. Autumn pruning, depending on the variety, is carried out in September-October.

It is believed that autumn is well suited for rejuvenating the bush. Usually plants rejuvenate at the age of 10-12 years. In this case, all the old trunks are cut near the ground. If the bush is too thick, you can cut out some of the young shoots. In the fall, sanitary pruning can also be carried out, as well as removing excess growth.

How to form barberry in the first years after planting

Barberry, in general, is easy to trim. Even a beginner can easily cope with this task (unless, of course, he wants to give the bush some exotic form). In the first year, immediately after planting, all weak shoots are removed, and strong ones are shortened to a well-developed bud. By autumn, the bush gives growth and begins to branch.

The simplest method of forming barberry is carried out in three stages, as a result of which a sprawling bush is formed to the best

For more abundant branching (giving the bush a rounded shape) in the second year in spring, the shoots are “planted on a stump” - cut low, leaving stumps 9–10 cm high. In autumn, a wider thick crown of young shoots forms. From the third year, this procedure is repeated, but each time the stumps are made higher than in the previous year. You can neglect the repetition of planting on a stump, and confine yourself to regular sanitary and thinning pruning.

Barberry calmly reacts to pruning, but you should not shorten the shoots too much, especially if you are counting on a crop.

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To give some specific shape, the bush is formed gradually, laying 3-4 skeleton branches in the first year, and in subsequent years, during the pruning, leaving 1-2 more main branches. Thus, due to the natural difference in growth, it is possible to form a crown close to the pyramidal.


  • When trimming, you cannot rush. Before "shredding" everything, carefully inspect the bush.
  • Try to shorten the shoots to a well-developed bud.
  • Slices should be done at a slight slope and as close as possible to the “eye” so that hemp does not work.
  • The cut surface must be absolutely even, jamming of the bark and burrs are unacceptable. If they are, it means that you carelessly cut or use a blunt tool.
  • When removing lateral shoots, cut directly along the annular influx (the base of the shoot) - if you leave a stump, it will interfere with healing and provoke infection of the plant.


Although barberry is very prickly, it is easily formed. The appearance of the crown entirely depends on the owner’s imagination - you can form a ball, a pyramid, a column or some kind of geometric figure.

Photo gallery: various forms of bush barberry

Single bushes look very good in the shape of a ball

To create beautiful compositions, you can combine barberry with other plants.

The barberry fence looks especially elegant in the fall

The required number of trunks will depend on the purpose of the bush. A small number of powerful trunks will be enough if the bush is single. If a hedge is formed from barberry, the number of shoots should correspond to its length and width.

To maintain a given width, it is necessary to remove all trunks growing to the side under the root

To give the barberry bush any specific shape during spring pruning, all annual growths must be greatly shortened to a length of 5-6 cm. Try to immediately give the bush a contour of the planned shape. During the season, the plant is allowed to freely form new growths. Then, for 3-4 years, the bush is trimmed 2 times a year (before budding and as the growth lengthens). As soon as young shoots reach a length of 8-10 cm, they are halved.

To form a hedge, rectangular or trapezoidal shapes are suitable

It should be borne in mind that each plant has a tendency to some specific form. Without pruning, barberry grows in the form of a sprawling, disheveled ball. And when trimming it is easiest to give it the shape of a cone.

Of course, from a habit it is very difficult to trim the bush in geometric form. Therefore, it is better to stock up on a template. The template can be made independently. To do this, draw the desired contour on any flat surface (for example, on asphalt) and bend a template of thick wire along it.

To create a spherical crown, make a pattern of wire - a semicircle on the "leg"

Then the finished template is inserted into the center of the bush, slightly sticking it into the ground and scrolling around the axis. In this case, all the shoots protruding beyond the outline of the template are cut off.

Using a wire template, you can give the bush a spherical shape

To form a cube or ball, a frame of slats can be used to limit the desired dimensions of the bush.

If you create a rack frame around the bush, you can easily trim it to the desired shape

Thus, in the presence of simple devices and a certain amount of imagination, you can decorate your site with a variety of shapes in shape (and if different varieties of barberry are planted - then in color) with beautiful bushes.

Video: beautiful pruning barberry

Gardeners reviews

In the EDSR, I met a recommendation to prune barberries in June after flowering. Not knowing this, I cut in the spring, the result was already visible in the current season. I would cut a long branch by about 30 cm, I would not touch the small ones. Kemira would feed the universal "Spring", if it is not, another mineral water with a predominance of nitrogen. At the end of summer, when the branches grow, I would cut it again to bring their sizes closer to something average. It seems to me that it will even out, the plant is unpretentious and grateful.

OlgaZ, Moscow

I cut off my barbarisks as it is convenient for me in life. I read and read all kinds of literature about them, tried to apply some rules, but they somehow behave not according to the rules. In the beginning of spring, it seems that all the branches begin to produce leaves, and then many fade, so I don’t cut them off right away in the spring, but I can see how they behave. such branches are not residents anyway). I do sanitary pruning throughout the summer, and when the bush comes into force in the summer, I trim the decorative as I wish. The nice thing about barberry is that it grows and restores quickly. Here is my experience.

levmarina, Moscow

As for the barberry fence. Nana is very short, up to 60 cm, in principle, if you cut, what remains A lot of photos of hedges in Yandex from the atberg of atropurpurea, beautiful - I have single bushes of both varieties, grow well, there have never been pests and diseases, but I have the first one about 1.8 m already, planted with an adult bush. If small seedlings and cut, I think it will work fine, but! it is terribly scratchy, just creepy, remove all weeds before planting, then mulch, I was so tormented with weeding once, I scratched my hands.

Ricky Tikki

Trimming barberries requires some skill. Nevertheless, the labor expended will pay off when multicolored bushes of an unusual shape appear on your site.


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