The juniper at right, for example, was cut back hard with hedge shears because it was growing over the adjacent sidewalk. Although it’s easy to focus on how to trim an overgrown shrub, when to prune is equally important. When pruning a hedge, as in this yew, be sure to allow the bottom to be wider than the top. How to Prune Overgrown Evergreen Hedges. Each year, take out a third of the heaviest stems to start new growth developing. If they didn’t get the maintenance pruning they needed, they may now appear as overgrown masses of crossing branches. April 27, 2011. This method of managing large shrubs stimulates the plant to produce new growth just below the pruning cut, close to the ground. Yews respond well to the heading cut I mentioned earlier. Ultimately, what you have done is redirect the way a plant is going to grow. Don’t go out there with rusty, dull tools and expect to do your shrubs any favors! What is hard pruning? Unhappy evergreens may also appear scraggly and thin and need some shaping and training to … A common evergreen known as the yew easily adapts to being planted too close. If you invest in a quality pair of hand pruners and a good saw, I daresay you will never need to replace them. This is Part 2 in a series on pruning ornamental plants. Next is the flowering shrubs, which are strategic in drawing the eye through color. Junipers can easily outgrow their site unless thoughtful, size-reduction techniques are used. Where to start? This will encourage thickness at the base by allowing sunlight to stimulate growth all the way to the bottom. To contact an expert in your area, visit, or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464). Managing large shrubs this way keep them attractive, vigorous and healthy. Sign up to get all the latest gardening tips! The most basic form of pruning - … It is also a method of pruning fruit trees such as apple/pear down to 3 buds for structure. Read on for information about managing large shrubs and tips on how to trim an overgrown shrub. Read more articles about General Shrub Care. No matter how much you prune back your shrubs, remember to keep the top of the plant more narrow than the bottom. Remove several of the longest branches by cutting them back to a branch connection. Armed with a dull pair of shears or a power hedge trimmer, we can totally dominate our plants! By hand trimming back the leggy shoots that appear each June, the plant can have a natural appearance and still stay in bounds. Each year, take out a third of the heaviest stems to start new growth developing. Pruning Evergreen Shrubs. If there’s one mistake I see home gardeners repeat often, it’s making poor cuts because of cheap tools. Hard pruning involves cutting the shrub off to a height of 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30.5 cm.) Reference to commercial products or trade names does not imply endorsement by MSU Extension or bias against those not mentioned. This article was published by Michigan State University Extension. The green meatballs and tuna cans that people call shrubs outside their homes are pruning atrocities! When a juniper has been cut repeatedly with hedge shears, it is likely to become deformed and die back beyond recognition. Pruning in general stimulates a growth response. The adage “you get what you pay for” is definitely true here. Thinning stimulates very little in the way of re-growth and in many cases is the desired method of pruning for both size reduction and enhancing the shrub’s natural appearance. By removing the point containing the terminal bud on a twig, other buds below that tip are stimulated to grow. In this case, your best pruning success will be with the thinning method and avoid hedging shears all together. Badly overgrown shrubs respond well to pruning in late winter/early spring, just before new leaves appear. For these shrubs, some experts recommend a very severe form of pruning, known as rejuvenation pruning. Pruning Osmanthus is the same instructions as Azalea and Rhododendron Pruning and for or all other evergreen shrubs that flower in late winter, spring, or early summer. Also see Part 1: Spring shape up: Tidying up your plants. With the onset of spring, gardeners gear up for their annual landscape “make over” by extracting dusty saws and hand pruners from the garage and investing in the season’s first sore muscles. I find it very entertaining to drive along and look around the neighborhood at over-enthusiastic pruning jobs. Photo credit: Rebecca Finneran, MSUE. How to Prune an Overgrown Yew Shrub. There are few areas in one’s life where we have the ability to exercise supreme control without repercussion or police involvement except in our home landscape. Rejuvenating Overgrown Oleanders: Tips For Pruning An Overgrown Oleander, What Is Rejuvenation Pruning: Tips For Hard Pruning Plants, Overgrown Landscape Beds: How To Reclaim An Overgrown Garden, DIY Herb Carton Planters: Growing Herbs In Milk Cartons, Air Plant Holder Ideas: Make An Air Plant Mount, DIY Autumn Leaf Wreath – Crafting Fall Leaves In A Wreath, Turnip Mosaic Virus – Learn About Mosaic Virus Of Turnips, Amaryllis Repotting Guide – When And How To Repot Amaryllis Plants, Woody Perennial Information: What Makes A Perennial Woody, Why Are My Guava Leaves Yellow – Dealing With Yellowing Guava Leaves, Thanksgiving Tradition: Turning Homegrown Pumpkins Into Pie, Growing Thanksgiving Dinner – Must Have Turkey Side Dishes, Interesting Uses For Pecans: What To Do With Pecans, The Bountiful Garden: Bringing The Garden To Thanksgiving. Next would be the foundation shrubs (usually evergreen) which would tie the specimens together and "anchor" the architecture to the property. Once you have completed renovation by overgrown shrub pruning, take the time every year to remove two or three of the older branches. Pruning evergreens Evergreen refers to a group of plants that retain their foliage during winter. Michigan State University Extension programs and materials are open to all without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, religion, age, height, weight, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, marital status, family status or veteran status. For more information, visit What to do with overgrown shrubs? Sign up for our newsletter. above the ground and allowing it to regrow. Renovation or hard pruning should be carried out in autumn/winter for deciduous plants (when they are dormant) and spring for evergreen plants (when they are just starting to grow again), or at the appropriate time for the plant in question if it’s pruned in a different season to the ‘norm’. Junipers have a very different growth habit compared to the yew. The next thing you should understand is how the shrub will react to your pruning cuts. It is defined used primarily when referring to shrubs, as in the cutting of main stems of a large shrub to about 6-12″ above the ground so as to promote vigorous growth of newer and healthier stems. Simply prune out all stems except one, then remove lower branches on that stem to create a trunk and canopy. You can see why it is difficult to prune them into various shapes. When a plant is small, it is easy to underestimate the ultimate size of a shrub and most often, size control is the primary reason for pruning foundation plants. Some methods of pruning generate more re-growth than others. Sharpening or replacing the blade is imperative as well. When the plant has gotten out of control, however, more drastic cuts deep into the “shoulders” of the plant are also acceptable and may ultimately result in the size reduction you are seeking. An area of cultivated shrubs in a park or a garden is known as a shrubbery. Cutting off the tip, or growing point, of a plant is called heading or heading back. The disadvantages of this type of pruning are that not all shrubs tolerate drastic cutting, and, until the plant regrows, you are left with an unsightly stub. Although they tend to grow a fair amount each season, when pruned properly, they can be dense and attractive for many years. I see many junipers that have been planted in the wrong place. Pruning the evergreens at this time allows plenty of time for new growth to emerge, as well as plenty of time for these new shoots to harden off before the following winter.

hard pruning evergreen shrubs

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