The Lawn and Garden Guy provides a wide variety of pruning options for ornamental shrubs in the Peterborough area.
When done correctly, pruning improves the health, vigor and appearance of plants. It increases flower and fruit production and rids trees and shrubs of dead, diseased and damaged wood. Novelty pruning, such as topiary (toe-pee-airy), espalier (ess-pel-ee-ay) and dwarfing allows the gardener to create a living sculpture to serve as a special focus in the garden. How much and when to prune varies from species to species and of course, depends on what it is you're trying to achieve.
If you feel at all insecure about your equipment or position, call a professional. The Lawn and Garden Guy can provide free estimates but please call us before the end of June so we can schedule a pruning for July. Leaving it too late in the season is not healthy to the plant.
Why Prune Shrubs?
Prune to rejuvenate old shrubs and restore them to new vigor. Certain shrubs, even though badly overgrown, can be restored to a young, natural growth habit by the proper use of rejuvenation pruning (the entire shrub is cut back to the ground). Lilac, privet, and many of the spireas are shrubs that can be rejuvenated. However, this type of pruning may cause over-vigorous growth that is susceptible to injury or that looks out of proportion.
Prune to create formal or unusual shapes. Espaliers, hedges and shrubs used in formal plantings are pruned or sheared into shapes other than their natural growth habits. This should never be done on flowering shrubs.
Prune to prevent damage to people and property. Branches that are weak or too low over houses, sidewalks, or parking areas should be removed.
Reshaping or Shearing:
For hedges or evergreens where a formal, neat compact appearance is required, pruning should be started early in the life of a tree or hedge and repeated at least once per season for hedges and every two to three years for evergreens, for best results.
When to Prune Shrubs
Different shrubs are pruned at different times but in general, the best time to prune is after the plant finishes blooming if we're referring to spring flowering shrubs such as forsythia, mock orange or lilac, or during dormancy if we're referring to a summer flowering shrub, such as hydrangea, dogwood or rose.
For most applications, The Lawn and Garden Guy prunes through the month of July after the main growing season.
Flowering shrubs need only light pruning during the first year or two after planting. Thin out by cutting older branches back to the ground. Annual, selective pruning of shrubs eliminates the need for drastic pruning.
By removing the apex of the plant, we induce branching by releasing Apical Dominance. Decapitating a plant causes it to branch, but it also slows vertical growth.
Extreme pruning causes dwarfing = Bonsai, shoots pruned almost weekly. Roots pruned twice per year
3-D Pruning = Topiary, Mickey Mouse, animal shapes, etc.
Hedges Pruning must be careful! Dense Branching occurs where pruning is heaviest
Rather than perfect cubes and spheres, think pyramid and hemisphere!
Pruning (thinning) also increases: Air Movement, Sun Exposure, Production (more photosynthesis, less fungi)
When Do I Prune?
NEVER prune late August-September or later (as this could threaten the plant with winterkill) Most shrubs need time to recover after pruning.