You don’t have to be Edward Scissorhands to know the importance of pruning your shrubs. An annual pruning will make them healthy and keep them from becoming overgrown and messy-looking. Over the years, however, shrubs can begin to look misshapen and unhealthy. The older the shrub gets, the older the branches are, and they can become too thick and stop growing leaves and flowers, and normal pruning won’t bring them back.
What is Rejuvenation Pruning?
The difference between rejuvenation pruning and standard pruning is like the difference between getting a trim or a buzz cut. Standard pruning consists of cutting new growth from a shrub, getting it back to its regular shape and should be done 1-2 times a year. Rejuvenation pruning, or “hard pruning” is done by cutting the entire shrub back to about 6-10 inches from the ground so that new branches will grow in their place. Although the shrub is unsightly for a period of time, it will grow back quickly and should be fuller and have thicker foliage. By cutting the shrub completely, you’re essentially starting over with the plant. Rejuvenation Pruning is recommended when a shrub has overgrown its area.
Some shrubs that can handle a hard pruning well are:
Rose of Sharon
Plants, such as evergreens, that have one main stem cannot be pruned this way. If you cut the stem, it will not grow back. Also, if any plant is sickly, it may not survive a hard pruning so a Gradual Pruning should be done instead.
What is Gradual Pruning?
A Gradual Pruning is a method that is the same process as a Rejuvenation Pruning, but it is done over a period of three years instead of all at once. For each of the three years, a third of the branches are cut back to 6-12 inches from the ground. This is also a good option if you don’t want to look at an ugly stump as you can space your cuts out throughout the plant so it still looks like a shrub, albeit a thinner one.
Some of the shrubs that prefer a Gradual Pruning are:
- Purple Sand Cherry
No matter which pruning method you choose, the best time is in early spring when it’ll cause the least amount of stress on the plant. Usually, it’s done no more than every 3-5 years because if it’s done too often, it’ll cause the plant stress and make it at risk for disease and destruction by pests. After your shrubs have been pruned, they do require a little extra care while their new growth is coming in. Be sure to keep it watered, especially during hotter temperatures. Fertilize them using organic compounds like manure or compost, not synthetics which tend to make the shrubs thinner. And keep a close eye on them to watch for disease or pests as this will be the time that they are most vulnerable.
Shrubs not only add beauty to your landscape, they’re an important part of it. They serve many functions such as creating privacy, hiding utility equipment, preventing erosion, providing a border, and they can even cool the area. Shrubs are a huge asset to your business and keeping them well-manicured and healthy is what we do. Our landscape professionals at Bluegrass Lawncare and Maintenance offer Tree and Shrub services that provide complete care for all of your shrubs. Call us today at (314)770-2828. We’d love to discuss your tree and shrub care needs.