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Moronic garden idiot seeks green thumb help...(Pruning Shrubs)

Moronic garden idiot seeks green thumb help...(Pruning Shrubs)

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  #1  
Old 03-21-05, 12:56 PM
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meo
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Moronic garden idiot seeks green thumb help...(Pruning Shrubs)

LOL -- so sorry, but I'm just not good with this stuff -- I would like to replace the bushes (evergreen) in front of my house; apparently years of improper pruning have left them scraggly and nasty, and we're planning on turning the house pretty quickly (in the next 18mos) -- we live in Virginia (zone 7 I think?) and want to purchase shrubs/bushes that are, or will be about 4-5feet tall within the allotted timeframe...can someone just give me some names of bushes??? LOL. The only thing I saw at the local nursery that looked like it might work were vibirnum, but don't they flower? I'd like just greenery...Think along the lines of the nicely shaped bushes that sit up against the front of a house...(at least that's the look I'm going for...)

Thanks in advance, and esp for humoring this brown thumb!!
 
  #2  
Old 03-21-05, 04:23 PM
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Your best bet may be to prune and encourage the plants that are already established. You may be able to prune them severely and have an amazing plant in the 18 months allotted.

Viburnum blooms, but in an understated way. It is primarily evergreen here in zone 7a.

Indian Hawthorne blooms, but makes a nice, appealing evergreen. Many hollies fit this bill. Gardenia will grow to this size easily, but blooms. Florida Anise is a nice, lighter evergreen with unremarkable flowers. Nandina is decorative and the Firepower gives a dramatic show in winter. The blooming is not remarkable.

Since you have in mind the finished look, a trip to the local nurseries may be the best bet to see the plants in sizes nearer to your needs.

To have plants 4 - 5 feet in 18 months will necessitate buying large plants initially.

Hope this helps.
 
  #3  
Old 03-21-05, 06:08 PM
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Here it is, almost April, and you have to bring up taxus!?!

Visit the local nursery again and ask about various evergreen shrubs.
 
  #4  
Old 03-21-05, 06:37 PM
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Chris -

thanks for the great advice, I never would have thought of gardenia, even though I absolutely LOVE them -- but what I looked up on them said daytime temps between 70-75 degrees (which is late spring in SE Va, but definitely not summer where it's 90+ most days...) -- given those temps, would you still advise gardenia? I think they're beautiful and delicious smelling, so I would love to do it, but if I'm gonna torture it, that's not fair either...lol!

The other thing I came across was a globe sheared yew, but couldn't find any info on growth rates...

I guess I'm not as opposed to blooming as I thought...he he...but I prefer something like gardenia -- mostly green with spots of color vs. something like forsythia which would be LOTS of color...

These bushes would be subject to late afternoon sun (2pm and on) b/c the house faces west...so they'd have to be hardy enough to take a beating...

*sigh* I'm soo much better at fixing up the inside!!
 
  #5  
Old 03-22-05, 07:16 AM
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i would take chris's advise and try to get your shrubs healthy in the 18 mo period. remember that plants need time to develope a root system in order to grow. what ever you plant will only grow a little in the 18 mo period.

first year it sleeps
second year it creeps
third year it leaps.

i heard that here a while back and it is true.
 
  #6  
Old 03-23-05, 10:50 AM
putzing
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Forsythia grow over 4' per year and they are almost impossible to kill. They are covered in yellow flowers in early spring, but otherwise are a fast growing bush that point upward. All their stems connect at the base, unlike juniper, which is like a small bushy tree, with branches that are horizontal also.

I remember we had to destroy our forsythia because it grew so fast, and we had to prune it about every 4 weeks (pruned 12-18" each time), and it just blocked the view from several other plants. Forsythia are not evergreen, but they are very easy to take care of. You generally don't even need to water them. Their roots will spread far horizontally, and deep, to find water.

Anyway, we eventually pulled it out of the ground, which is when we found out how many roots it has. We tossed it in the woods. I think it eventually walked over to the neighbors yard and planted itself there.
 
  #7  
Old 04-15-05, 06:49 AM
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Ok, so I'm taking sage advice, since that's what I asked for...

not to mention it's considerably cheaper!! LOL! I'm going to prune them back, but my (novice) question is, can I just have at them with a hedge trimmer and bring them down a foot or so, or is there a specific way to do this for best regrowth? Thanks again everyone! -- PS, I planted some bridal wreath along my back fence...hopefully it will break up the "wood fence" look back there...of course, based on my past gardening experience they'll be dead by May...he he...
 
  #8  
Old 04-15-05, 09:58 AM
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Which plant is involved determines how it is pruned. Evergreen is a term that includes many plants that are conifers such as pines and fir as well as azaleas if you are far enough south. The essential points is that some coniferous plants have a terminal bud as a pine has, and trimming this will not produce new growth. Most other plants of the similar type such as yew will grow back after pruning. Some evergreens grow slowly, so you may have to be patient with the new growth. Most evergreens that are called shrubs will regrow after pruning.

Keep in mind the shape you want when you prune the plant. Select branches to trim rather than just trimming the tips of branches. The use of a hedge trimmer may be an acceptable choice, depending upon the plant.

Hope this helps.
 
  #9  
Old 04-15-05, 12:30 PM
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Oh -- that would play a role, no?

LOL -- I'm pretty sure (based on what I've seen in garden centers etc.) that it's a Japanese holly...either that or boxwood...but probably more Japanese holly...
 
  #10  
Old 04-18-05, 09:48 AM
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Some evergreen shrubs can be cut back to the nub (no green left at all) and will still regrow and quickly because of the established root system. Sometimes this is the easiest way to get back a pleasing appearance when the shrubs have gone all "leggy" because of lack of good pruning.

If you have this type (find out the type you have) it may be best to cut it back severely and let it grow back thick.

If however you have evergreens more like pines, cedars or arborvitaes you'd probably kill it by doing this.

There's a good chance you have yews (which have soft flat evergreen needles) these can be cut back pretty severely and grow back lush and full.
 
  #11  
Old 04-20-05, 10:14 AM
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Well, I stand corrected

(which is pretty often where gardening is concerned!) -- apparently it's boxwood...lol!
 
  #12  
Old 07-02-05, 01:52 PM
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Well thankyou all for the great advice -- I pruned the heck outta them and used the fertilizer stakes you pound into the ground around the drip lines...they look maaahvalous!! Ok, so they don't look that good, but they're 150% better -- new green growth, and soft -- you almost can't see the branches anymore! SOOO glad I didn't dig'em out and try to replant something else...

Thanks again for the help -- glad I was smart enough to follow your advice!!
 
 

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