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Plant Answer Line Question

Keywords: Pruning shrubs, Shrubs--Care and maintenance, Calluna, Erica

How do I care now, in the fall, for very well established, huge (in some cases) Callunas? Do they get sheared? If so, how many times a year, and how far back? Also, how do I prune my heaths?


The American Horticultural Society Pruning and Training Manual, ed. by C. Brickell, 1996, p. 183, 193 recommends pruning Calluna (heather) in the same way as Erica cinerea. Prune or trim lightly in early spring, cutting stems back where possible to strong shoots below the spent flower cluster.

Local pruning expert Cass Turnbull of Plant Amnesty says the following about heaths and heathers (Erica and Calluna) in her Guide to Pruning (Sasquatch Books, 2006): "Spring bloomers are sheared shortly after blooming (in the spring). Summer/fall bloomers are also sheared in the early spring (just as new growth starts), so that the attractive seed heads are left in view all winter. An annual light shearing is all that is needed. Don't wait. Do it now before the plants get too old and woody. When cut too far into old brown, barren branches, a plant may not break bud and green back up. If you have inherited a mature yard, it may be necessary to severely prune an old neglected heather. It will either regenerate or die. Probably the latter. An exception is the tree heath, Erica arborea, which (...) responds well to radical renovation."

For further information, consult the following websites of nurseries specializing in these plants:
Heaths and Heathers Nursery
Dayton Nursery

Date 2018-08-23
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Garden Tip

Keywords: Calluna, Erica

This time of year gardeners appreciate the color and good looks of heaths and heathers. Most heather species prefer sun, acid soil and some supplemental summer water. To learn more about heathers join the Cascade Heather Society. For a $5.00 yearly membership, you will receive three color newsletters per year. To join, mail a check to Alice Knight, Secretary-Treasurer, 1199 Monte Elma Rd. Elma, WA 98541-9038.

To learn more about the many different heath and heather varieties and how to grow them go online to: The Heather Society (British).

Date: 2006-03-01
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