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A Guide to Pruning Shrubs

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 other hand, if done correctly, leaves the plant more healthy and shaped according to its natural shape.

Appropriate pruning consistently results in the more vigorous plant that is healthier. The right pruning also leaves the shrub in its authentic form, not shaped into something it is not.

Any pruning should start with the removal of any crossing or dead branches. Crossing branches are branches that grow crossing the interior or inward toward the shrub. These are of no use and will inhibit the growth of branches that are desired by shading the interior of the plant. When the crossing and dead branches are removed, you’ll need to find out which kind of pruning the shrub needs: maintenance pruning or rejuvenation pruning.
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Maintenance pruning is simply required several times a year and requires only 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 at such an angle that it permits water to run off. Make the cut at 1/4-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 toward the middle of the plant can lead to a branch that is crossing.

Rejuvenation pruning ought to be reserved for mature plants. As plants age, main branches or stems lose their vigor and start to become 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 approaches to get this done, one is extreme and the other is less intense.

Sometimes called renewal pruning, this drastic pruning involves cutting the plant completely back to a height between 6 to 12 inches. It’s not appropriate for many shrubs since this could be very difficult on a plant, so seek advice from the local greenhouse, extension agent or research it yourself. As the plant will be needing time to recuperate, time can also be crucial with such a pruning.

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.

Adhering to these simple techniques will keep your shrubs healthy, vigorous and, if flowering shrubs, covered in flowers at all times.