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Friday, December 21, 2018

Best Time and How to Prune Ornamental Shrubs

Q. I have some shrubs in my yard that are getting rather scraggly looking.  I was wondering when and how far back I can prune it back in to shape.
Shrubs improperly pruned with a hedge shears. Unfortunately, most people do not recognize bad pruning when they see it and now unfortunately are asking for this kind of pruning.

A. First decide if now is the best time for pruning them or not. You can prune anytime during the winter months. Some plants look better through the winter if they are pruned now. Other plants look fine now but might not look as good if you were to prune them.
As shrubs are pruned more and more into a gumball, in a few years they developed exposed strong stabs at the base.
            Remember, if you prune now you will have to look at them the rest of the winter. If these are flowering shrubs, prune them soon after they finished flowering. If the shrubs do not have ornamental flowers, prune them anytime during the winter.
            The best pruning methods remove the oldest growth from the bottom of the shrub with a lopper or hand shears. Hedge shears for pruning shrubs are, as the name implies, for hedges, not for shrubs.

Properly pruned shrubs require to – 4 cuts at the very bottom to keep it looking good and juvenile.

1 comment:

  1. But if you keep doing that, the shrub will never serve its true function of blocking wind at ground and low levels, providing shade along the ground to plant more sensitive plants on the shady side of it, etc. Overpruned, round or flat little balls of leaves that have become popular around this part of the world are pretty much useless and a waste of water. Also, if you get carried away with pruning, which often happens when making the mistake of using power pruners instead of hand clippers, you wind up cutting off a lot of the branches that actually have leaves on them and exposing the leafless branches below. This can also cause sunburning of those inner branches just like with the Palo Verde. I've seen people gradually kill their ornamental shrubs by power pruning them over and over again. If you plant a shrub and never ever prune it, allowing it to look 'scraggly'. Shrubs aren't supposed to be fuzzy little balls of leaves. Examine shrubs that grow wild without our interference and you won't see that.