Bush Trimming/Pruning FAQ

//Bush Trimming/Pruning FAQ

Bush Trimming/Pruning FAQ

 What kind of pruning cuts are there?

The two cuts main cuts are heading cuts and thinning cuts.  Heading cuts are meant to stimulate growth where the cut was made.  Thinning cuts are meant to remove branches at the cut entirely.  If used correctly thinning cuts can reduce shrub density without stimulating more growth.

If I cut my shrub to the ground will it grow back?

I can’t give you a guarantee, but generally plants with multiple stems coming up from the ground will be fine when cut down to the  ground.  If only one stem comes up from the ground do not cut it down to the ground.

If I have an overgrown shrub can I make it manageable?

You can follow what is called the one third method.  During the 1st year prune back the bush by a third and remove a third of the branches.  Next year remove a third of the stems and do the same for the third year.  From this point on follow basic shrub pruning procedures regularly.  To skip the three year process simply prune back the unruly bush to roughly half a foot.  Although it may not be as good for the shrub it is easier and should grow back quickly.

When should I prune my bushes?

Simple answer is that it depends.  If you’re planning on trimming a great deal of your bush (over 50%) you should wait until February or March.  On the other hand if you’re doing a pruning for shaping or thinning, it depends on when the shrub blooms.

Prune spring blooming bushes within a month of the blooming (when the flowers have died).   This is because if you prune before blooming you will be cutting off the future flowers.   An excellent example of a spring blooming shrub is the lilac bush.  For summer blooming shrubs prune when they are dormant or before they receive leaves.  Special cases are Japanese Yews, Arborvitae, and the juniper which all need to be pruned in late spring-early winter.

What’s the difference between shearing and pruning?

Shearing is the act of running a hedge trimmer over hedges to keep the bush back.  This is used mainly for the aesthetics or the practicality of the bush, not for the health of the bush.  Shearing should only be used on certain hedge shrubs.  Pruning or hand pruning is better for single shrubs and deadwood leafy bushes.  Pruning is for practicality, aesthetics and for the health of the bush that’s why it takes knowledge of pruning cuts and the plant that is to be pruned.



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