To maintain native plants and promote a bushy growth habit, pruning is required. It may be as simple as cutting the spent flower heads off flowering gums so they put their energy into more flowers, rather than producing nuts. Or you may have overgrown plants that need rejuvenation.
Three methods of pruning are used with native plants, tip pruning is the easiest and most successful. Hard pruning is used less often and only on some species. And coppicing can also be used on some species.
Tip pruning mimics the natural growth habit. In technical terms this method tip pruning removes apical dominance and promotes better growth, its a natural way of pruning, similar to what native animals would do.
So by simply removing the new shoot (apex) the dormant lateral buds are forced into action. Tip pruning is the recommended method for most native plants.
Hard Pruning Native Plants
Hard pruning is sometimes the only way a plant can be rejuvenated, however this is often problematical and the ‘harder you prune’ the more likely you are to kill the plant. Hard pruning should only be carried out while the plant is in active growth and this will depend on the species and your location.
If you must hard prune consider the species first. Species such as callistemons and melaleucas, Myrtacae family, are more tolerant of hard pruning than grevilleas which is a member of the Proteaceae family.
Look carefully for signs of green shoots or buds on the stem and try to prune to them.
You can also coppice some species, cut them right back to the ground and let them re shoot. What this all about is the fact that some Australian species have lignotubers, if your plant is a me mber of the Myrtacae family you can most likely cut it back to a stump. Eucalyptus, Callistemon, Melaleuca and Leptospermum