Pruning and Caring for Your Shrubs Pruning and Caring for Your Shrubs

A gardener's choice of shrubs to grow is quite varied. There are shrubs with color, shrubs with the hardiness to grow where even grass will not, shrubs that grow bushy enough to provide a privacy screen, and shrubs that simply bloom during the season of the year that awakens them - the list is seemingly endless.

Basic Shrub Care

Caring for your shrubs to ensure their healthy growth is essential to any gardener worth his weight in trowels and hand spades. Shrubs fill in where other plants cannot. Shrubs add a distinctive touch to our yards and gardens that only they can add. Moreover, shrubs are typically hardy and long living.

Although many similarities may exist to their taller relatives, the trees, shrubs have several stems rather than one trunk. Shrubs unfortunately fall victim to dry roots if they are not properly cared for by their owner. This in itself can be the end of the shrub.

Therefore, it is especially important to properly plant the shrub to ensure the proper placement of the roots from the beginning. Additionally, watering the shrub sufficiently during the early months is essential to its root system.

Pruning Shrubs

Pruning shrubs is a bit more involved than one may think initially. First, the gardener must consider what the purpose of the pruning is.

For a gradual renewal of the shrub, the pruning involves removing only a few of the oldest or longest branches of the shrub. The branches that are removed should be located slightly above or at ground level. This type of pruning can be done on an annual basis. If the symmetry of the shrub is concerned, then a few of the longer branches located at higher levels may be trimmed at this time.

For pruning that is designed to rejuvenate an old, tired, and overgrown shrub, approximately one third of the branches at the lower end of the shrub can be removed. This type of pruning should occur while the plant is dormant and not actively growing.

Shrubs that need to be thinned out are pruned by removing twigs and branches from the shrub. The twigs or branches are removed in one of several ways. They can be snipped from the point where they begin growing from the shrub, either at the parent stem or a lateral stem. Or, the twigs or branches can be removed at the ground level or slightly above the ground level. Finally, they can be removed from a junction where two branches or twigs form a Y.

Shrubs that flower in the spring, or bloom on the growth of the shrub from the previous season, should be pruned immediately after their last bloom. This will avoid any disruption to the shrubs blooming process. Moreover, pruning after the blooming season will allow the shrub to experience a vigorous growth spurt during the summer months, hopefully resulting in an even more vigorous burst of blooms.

However, shrubs that bloom in June are blooming from their current stage of growth. Therefore, the best time to prune this type of shrub is during the end of the winter season. This will promote vigorous new growth that will help to issue forth a preponderance of blooms.

Evergreen shrubs benefit the most from a mere thinning out. Pruning should occur during the end of the winter season for the best results since new growth will not have begun yet. When a shaped evergreen is desired, shearing of the branches is the best procedure to use. Even so, a shaped evergreen can still benefit from a thinning out pruning.

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