How To Prune Scotch Broom: Step By Step Guide For Beginners

Scotch broom, also known as Cytisus scoparius, is a perennial shrub that produces bright yellow flowers during the spring and summer seasons. Although it looks beautiful in gardens and landscapes, it is considered an invasive species in many regions of the world. It can grow aggressively and spread quickly, outcompeting native plants for resources.

In order to prevent scotch broom from taking over your garden or landscape, one effective method is pruning. Pruning helps maintain the size and shape of the shrub while promoting healthy growth. In this article we will discuss how to prune scotch broom.

When to Prune Scotch Broom

Scotch broom should be pruned during late winter or early spring when it is dormant. This timing allows for new growth to emerge after pruning without disrupting any blooming periods occurring later in the year. It’s important not to wait too long into spring because once new growth has started on scotch broom, pruning may cause damage or reduce blooming potential.

Tools Required

Before starting any pruning work on your scotch brooms you will need specific tools such as:

1) Hand pruners – Used for cutting small branches (less than ½ inch diameter)
2) Loppers – Suitable for trimming thicker branches (up to 1-2 inches diameter), with longer handles for added leverage
3) Handsaw – Considered appropriate only if you have larger limbs that require cutting back.

It’s essential that all tools are clean before use so sterilize them with alcohol wipes or bleach solution mixed up by diluting one part bleach with nine parts water before getting down to work.

How to Prune Scotch Broom

1) Remove Dead Wood: Start by removing any dead wood on your plant using hand pruners or loppers depending upon their thickness.
2) Cut Back Old Growth: Next step involves removing old wood up until where green leaves have started sprouting. This ensures that the plant gets rid of old wood and promotes new growth.
3) Thin out branches: Remove branches that appear damaged, diseased or have grown in an unappealing way using hand pruners. For thicker branches, use loppers instead.
4) Reduce Height: If your scotch broom is too tall for its location or appears unsightly, you might want to reduce its height. Using a handsaw, take off 1/3 of each branch’s length from the top gently.

General Tips for Pruning

– Wear garden gloves to protect your hands when pruning
– Make clean cuts at a 45-degree angle with sharp tools
– Avoid leaving stubs behind as they may attract insects and disease leading to damage
– Don’t prune more than one-third of the plant during any single season as it may cause stress on the shrub
– Dispose of all debris safely so that it cannot grow back by sending them off to trash cans.


By following these simple steps you can easily prune your scotch broom without causing any damage while promoting healthy growth and maintaining its size and shape. Remember, regular pruning will prevent this invasive species from taking over valuable space in our gardens and landscapes ensuring we keep them looking beautiful year after year!