• Cornus and Salix are tolerant of most soils, including heavy clay and chalk. They thrive in fertile, moist conditions and most are tolerant of waterlogging. Adequate moisture during the growing season promotes vigorous growth and strong new shoots that colour well in winter. Although tolerant of some shade, stem colour is always best in an open, sunny situation. • The best colour is displayed in first-year stems that have grown well during the season. Most Cornus and Salix are therefore best cut back completely to less than 10cm above the ground in early spring, every year, before the new leaves start to develop. The exceptions are those grown for variegated foliage effect, as well as their late-season stems. These could be left to grow for two years before hard pruning. Less vigorous species, such as Salix irrorata, only require hard pruning every three or four years. Rubus grown for their stems are cut back to the ground in early spring, every year, or every other year if space allows.
• After cutting back the stems, clean up around the plants, apply a slowrelease, balanced fertiliser and water thoroughly. On dry soils mulching with organic compost or well-rotted manure is especially beneficial.