Pruning Those Shrubs

Are you having problems knowing how to properly prune those shrubs? I can help.

When you have shrubs you will need to prune them and you'll need to have a knowledge of pruning or you could actually destroy or lose the beauty of the shrub if you are not properly prunning the shrub.

First of all let's talk about the pruning of all woody plants, as this is much misunderstood. You are going to prune the shrub to keep it healthy and in an attractive condition. The pruning will not really help the plant to grow but it does remove the dead and superfluous wood, also improves the air circulation and the quality of the flowers, and can also be used to limit the space you have alloted for the individual shrub.

When you remove yearly the old branches on a shrub it will allow the new branches to develop to a new and better advantage. Now when pruning you should try to remove as many of the old branches as there are new ones to keep the shrub in proportion. Sure, if a great many new shoots appear it would be wise to thin them. If a shrub hasn't put out new roots, then you need to cut off an old branch that is close to the ground. Now realize that a shrub in bad condition that hasn't been pruned regularly will probably take up to two to three years to get back into a good condition so don't give up on the shrub once you prune it.

Sometimes when you have thinned a shrub drastically you may think that you have ruined the plant, but it will catch back up in a season or two.

Don't forget that there is a big difference between pruning and shearing as pruning is a more selective process as branches are cut where necessary to improve the shape of the plant, and to stimulate new growth farther back on the branches. In shearing, an even length of growth

is removed all over teh plant in order to preserve a certain set form that has been developed. Shearing will destroy the natural form of the shrub: do not forget this fact.

Now as to the time of the pruning of the shrub, this will vary, for an example in the case of Forsythias and Mock Oranges that produce their flowers on wood one year or more old you should prune these as soon as possible after the blooms have fallen, for they form the flower buds for the next spring. When you prune these in the fall or in the spring before they bloom, you will destroy these flower buds. To correctly prune an early flowering shrub remove the old wood at the base of the plant, don't take a pair of shears and trim it into a ball or the shape of a head.

If you see strong young growths are breaking from the base of the stem, please remember to keep them.

Now when you have late blooming shrubs such as Spirea you will treat them different. The flowers will be produced on the current year's growth and pruning should be done while they are in the dormant state.

The shrubs such as the Rose of Sharon are pruned by cutting back the lateral side shoots to one or two buds, and the main shoots to six to eight inches. Make the cut as close to the bud as possible without destroying the bud. A good idea on pruning these shrubs would be to leave a bud that faces out from the stem, as this will encourage outward growth rather than toward the center of the plant.

Another idea also other than my useful suggestions would be to read your gardening books on each shrub or consult your local nursery for advice in pruning.

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