Make a chart of the types of bushes you haveEvery bush has a characteristic shape and size, and for each there is a best
pruning technique to bring out the maximum beauty of its flowers, branch
color and structure. Some require little pruning; others more. For the best
pruning results, identify all your bushes and learn about their unique
attributes. Bushes vary widely by region, so the most reliable way to identify
the ones you don't recognize is to take a clipping to a nursery. Usually
the nursery will have reference books with a photo of the characteristic
shape and can tell you the mature size, as well as special pruning instructions.
Keep the key information on a rough sketch of your yard. Tip: You
can prune almost everything in early spring. Just be sure to get to it!
Cut out dead, damaged, diseased and deranged branches
Prune out about one-third of the branches of bushes that grow from canes
Clip off branch tips to promote small-branch growth and denser foliage
This “heading off” technique channels
more growth energy to smaller side
branches, which will then fill in
vacant areas. Make this cut at a side
branch or 1/4 in. beyond a bud. Be selective and watch the
results from the previous year to help
gauge future growth. It works best on
bushes and trees that grow mostly
from one or a few stalks, as opposed to
bushes that continually send up new
shoots (suckers), like lilacs and
Don't trim new growth with hedge shears!
Remove entire branches to shape the bush and control its size
Make pruning cuts just beyond the branch “collar”
The branch collar is the bark swell that encircles the
branch. If left intact, this collar will soon grow over
and cover the wound. Don't leave stubs. They'll rot
and might become diseased.
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Don't force a big bush to conform to a small space by pruning