Plant Taxonomy of Rock Cotoneaster:
Planting Zones for Rock Cotoneaster:
Sun and Soil Requirements:
Rock Cotoneaster for Four-Season Interest:
Wildlife Attracted to Rock Cotoneaster:
Uses in Landscaping:
Care for Rock Cotoneaster:
It is not necessary to prune cotoneaster plants. And if you do prune them, don't prune off the ends of the branches, as you would, say, with yews -- that would ruin their natural gracefulness.
That said, you might feel that a particular branch spoils the overall shape of the plant. In that case, follow the branch all the way back to the center of the shrub, and make your pruning cut there. The offending member will thereby be excised, without leaving an awkward stump behind.
Name Origin, Mispronunciations and "Herringbone Pattern":
"Cotoneaster" is a widely mispronounced plant name. The correct pronunication, technically, is cuh-TO-ne-AS-tuhr, but even my dictionary gives some legitimacy to the common mispronunciation, CAWT-tuhn-ES-tuhr. I myself used to pronounce the word that way, despite the fact that cotoneaster shrubs have nothing to do either with cotton or Easter! Others want to drop the first "e" altogether, fancying a juxtaposition of "cotton" and "aster."
Etymologically, "cotoneaster" comes from the new Latin word for "quince," cotneum, plus the suffix, -aster, meaning "imperfectly resembling." So a cotoneaster shrub is literally a plant that imperfectly resembles a quince (the reference is to Cydonia oblonga, not to flowering quince).
By the way, if you've read up on rock cotoneaster, you've almost inevitably come across references to the arrangement of its stems as forming a "herringbone pattern" along each branch. Such references usually go unexplained, and the pictures provided (if any) fail to reveal a herringbone pattern (or any other pattern), because there's too much foliage in the way.
To remedy this, the 3rd picture in my mini-photo gallery is a closeup of a bare cotoneaster branch in winter (click the photo, above right, to access the mini-photo gallery). Look at the pattern that the young stems are forming. I suppose it's somewhat reminiscent of the herringbone pattern. But to my eye, it looks more like someone tried to form a row of V's along the branch, but failed! The left-hand strokes of the V's don't line up properly with the right-hand strokes -- so that they never intersect.