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I appreciate the misunderstanding I have had with Nature over my perennial border. I think it is a flower garden; she thinks it is a meadow lacking grass, and tries to correct the error.

~ Sara Stein ~

Spring Trimming - Pruning

As I was wandering through the garden with my coffeecup one recent morning, I could hear some of the shrubs calling out to me "prune me, prune me, me first!"

If your garden was hit as hard by the easter frost as ours, you will have have quite a few shrubs and plants that lost their 2007 initial growth. Most of ours have budded back out and are beginning to fill in, but the dead foliage looks rather crispy.

Spring flowering shrubs are also wanting for a haircut so they can remain shapely and put on fresh flowerbuds during the summer. Pruning them in the fall would remove those buds and result in a less than spectacular bloom next spring.

Pruners can be divided into two types:

  • Bypass
    Blade and bill slide past each other like scissors
  • Anvil
    Blade chops against soft plate, usually metal

Which type of pruner should I use?

Most authorities (state agricultural extension offices and gardening publications) will recommend the bypass type for close, clean cuts on live branches and the anvil type for chopping dead shoots and branches.

If you purchase only one type, choose a bypass model. The anvil style is more likely to crush soft stems on live branches and not result in a clean cut.

So, grab your pruners and take a tour of your garden!

How far back should I cut?

Cut off all the dead branches. One important thing to remember is to step back after every few cuts and assess the look of your work. You want to remove no more than 1/3 of the total shrub during any pruning session.

For what I call 'airy' looking shrubs and plants, I trim back some of the stems all the way to the bottom to let air and light into the center and give them a graceful, natural look.

For 'hedge' type shrubs I trim so that the top of the hedge is smaller than the bottom. This allows light to reach all parts of the plant. I'm sure you have seen plants trimmed into a perfect square that are showing little if any leaves and growth near the bottom. If you have any that were trimmed in this fashion in your garden, start this year to alter their shape and help them grow healthier.


Father's Day Ideas :

Wind Chimes
Fruit Bird Feeder