Jul 07, 2023

The Art of Pruning: How Often Should You Prune Shrubs and Hedges?

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Understanding Pruning

Pruning is selectively trimming plants to remove dead, damaged, or overgrown branches and foliage. It helps to shape the plant, encourage new growth, control size, and improve flowering or fruiting. Regarding shrubs and hedges, pruning is crucial for maintaining their desired shape, density, and health.

Factors Influencing Pruning Frequency

Several factors influence the frequency of pruning shrubs and hedges. Let's explore some of the key considerations:

  1. Plant Species: Different plant species have varying growth rates and pruning requirements. Some shrubs require frequent pruning to control their size and shape, while others only need occasional maintenance.
  2. Growth Habit: Consider the growth habit of the shrub or hedge. Some plants naturally produce vigorous new growth yearly, necessitating more frequent pruning to maintain their desired form.
  3. Flowering Period: Understanding when a shrub or hedge blooms is important because pruning at the wrong time may remove flower buds and diminish the next season's display. Prune flowering shrubs after they have finished blooming to avoid this issue.
  4. Desired Shape and Size: Your shrubs and hedges' intended shape and size also impact pruning frequency. If you prefer a formal, well-manicured appearance, more frequent pruning will be necessary to maintain crisp lines and a compact shape.

When selecting plants, it is important to consider the final size your plants and trees will grow to for the selected spaces in your landscape. We often see trees, shrubs, and hedges planted in the incorrect spots requiring far too much pruning to keep them contained in their space.

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General Guidelines for Pruning Frequency

While the specific pruning requirements vary depending on plant species, here are some general guidelines to help you determine how often to prune your shrubs and hedges:

  1. Light Pruning: Light pruning, also known as maintenance pruning, can be performed regularly throughout the year to remove minor dead or damaged branches and maintain shape. This can be done as needed to keep the shrubs and hedges tidy.
  2. Seasonal Pruning: Most shrubs and hedges benefit from seasonal pruning. For deciduous shrubs, it is generally best to prune during late winter or early spring before new growth emerges. This allows the plants to recover and maximize growth during the growing season. Evergreen shrubs and hedges can be pruned in early spring or late summer to maintain their shape and density.
  3. Renewal Pruning: Some shrubs benefit from periodic renewal pruning, which involves more extensive removal of older wood to stimulate new growth. This pruning is typically performed every few years to rejuvenate the plant and prevent it from becoming woody and unproductive.
  4. Flowering Shrub Considerations: For shrubs that flower on old wood (last season's growth), such as lilacs and forsythias, it is crucial to prune immediately after they finish blooming. This timing allows the plants to produce new growth and set flower buds for the following year.

Pruning shrubs and hedges is a skill that requires understanding the specific needs of your plants and considering factors such as species, growth habits, flowering period, and desired shape. By following the general guidelines outlined in this blog, you can maintain healthy, attractive shrubs and hedges that enhance the beauty of your landscape. Remember, proper timing and technique are key to successful pruning. If you are uncertain about the pruning requirements for

We are experts in pruning! Contact us today to discuss how we can whip your plants into shape. Click the link to fill out a contact form or give us a call at 503-669-0606
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Erica Mooney
Email Erica Mooney

Erica is an avid lover of the outdoors, and transformed that love into a partnership running Valley West with Ryan 2012.

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