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Prune pyracanthas

20 June 2013
Prune pyracanthas

 These easy-to-grow evergreen shrubs look good all year round, with frothy white flowers in spring followed by masses of berries in traffic-light colours: look out for different varieties in your local garden centre, from buttery yellow 'Soleil d'Or' to tangerine-coloured 'Orange Glow' and the best of the reds, 'Saphyr Rouge'.

They look particularly gorgeous trained flat against a wall in an 'espalier' shape, with the branches held horizontally in tiers. Get the look by setting up a framework of wires behind the plant 30cm apart. Plant your pyracantha away from the wall so it's not too dry, then let it grow up a central vertical cane.

Select the most vigorous horizontal branches and tie them in to the wires on both sides. Then prune back sideshoots coming off each branch to two pairs of leaves: these fruiting spurs are where the berries are formed.

When the plant reaches the top of the fence, select the leader plus the topmost shoot and train them out to each side. Then every summer, all you need to do is tie in new growth, shorten framework branches if necessary, and trim back those sideshoots, to clothe your fences in finary all year round.