People have different tastes in art, music, architecture… and what constitutes a well-maintained shrub bed or hedge. Some like tightly-clipped hedges with nary a leaf out of place while others prefer more naturalistic forms.
No one likes to see dead branches or overgrown shrubs in front of windows or restricting foot traffic on sidewalks, and most people enjoy shrubs that dependably bloom year after year.
But are there methods of pruning that are more harmful than helpful to the wide variety of shrub types in the landscape? Will doing what looks good immediately after pruning shorten the future life and appearance of the plant? Are there ways to approach shrub pruning that consider not only its current appearance but its future health?
Yes! These are the main reasons to prune (and are included in our annual one time shrub trimming):
1. To remove dead or diseased branches;
2. To remove undesirable growth (crossing branches, suckers, branches obstructing walks, etc.);
3. To stimulate flowering and fruiting on new growth.
4. To maintain or reduce plant size (temporarily, because pruning stimulates new growth).
Properly done, the above types of pruning may be barely noticeable compared to the sort of “haircut” pruning performed by someone wielding hedge trimmers, (see diagram below). Selective pruning, as shown, extends the life and improves the appearance of plants much more effectively than the haircut method:
A plant with green leaves on the interior and the exterior grows more evenly and can withstand drought or broken branches from snow, etc. better than one with a thin interior framework. Its density is uniform, not just concentrated on the outside of the plant.
See our company guidelines for more information: LSS Pruning Manual 2017