When homeowners say they’re planning to prune their shrubs, they frequently mean they’re going to ‘shear’ their shrubs. Inasmuch as shearing has its uses in landscaping, it is almost always done for aesthetic reasons and infrequently results in a plant that was wholesome. Pruning on the flip side, if done right, makes the plant more healthy and formed true to its natural shape.
The right pruning consistently results in a more vigorous and healthy plant. Appropriate pruning also makes the shrub in its authentic shape, not formed into something it isn’t.
Any pruning should begin with the removal of any dead or crossing branches. Crossing branches are branches that grow crossing the inside of the shrub or inward toward towards it. These are of no use and will inhibit the growth of branches that are desired by shading the interior of the plant. Once the dead and crossing branches are removed, you’ll need to determine which type of pruning the shrub needs: rejuvenation or maintenance pruning.
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Maintenance pruning is needed a couple of times annually and requires just removing unwanted branches to maintain a natural shape. Look for long branches that seem misplaced. Reach to the middle of the plant when removing and discover the point of natural branching. That is the location you need to make the cut.
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The cut should be in a manner that allows water to run off. Make the cut a quarter inch above the bud node. The bud node is where new development will start, so select a node pointing in the direction of the desired development. Settling upon a node pointed towards the center of the plant will result in a crossing branch.
Rejuvenation pruning needs to be reserved for plants that are older. As plants age, branches or leading stems lose their vigor and be unproductive. As the name suggests, rejuvenation pruning means precisely what it says, it rejuvenates older plants by returning them to their prior vigor and shape. There are two ways to try it; one extreme and the other less extreme.
Occasionally called renewal pruning, this severe pruning includes cutting the plant totally back to a height of between 6 to 12 inches. Since this might be very hard on a plant, it is not suitable for all shrubs, so talk with your local extension agent, nursery or do your own research. Time is also crucial with this sort of pruning as the plant will need time to recover.
If the plant continues to be pretty vigorous, in the event the shrub cannot handle a radical cutback or in the event you intend to rejuvenate the shrub but nevertheless maintain its form, you’re able to do a long-term drastic rejuvenation.
Following these easy techniques will keep your shrubs healthy, vigorous and, in the case of flowering shrubs, covered in flowers year in, year out.