Gardening Laidback Gardener Tip of the Day Pruning Shrubs

Make Life Easy: Choose a Shrub that Fits Your Space

Why plant a big shrub in a small space? That only leads to a lifetime of pruning! Pick your plants according to the space that’s available. Source:

Why prune again and again to keep a shrub in check? It’s so much easier to simply choose a shrub that will naturally fit into the space you have available and then let it grow.

For example, if you are looking for a foundation shrub to place in front of a window 5 ft (1.5 m) above the ground in a bed 4 ft (1.2 m wide), why choose a shrub that will reach 9 feet (3 m) high and 9 ft (3 m) wide? You’ll have to spend the rest of your life trying to keep it under control. It would have been so much easier to choose a shrub that will naturally reach 5 ft (1.5 m) x 4 ft (1.2 m) or less. And it’s not like there is any lack of choice: there are shrubs that range from everything from 2 inches (5 cm) to 20 feet (6 m) tall and wide in any good nursery.

When you use a shrub of appropriate dimensions, you can simply plant it and let it grow.

This sounds so obvious that you’d think every home gardener would do exactly that, but in fact, you’ll see an awful lot of gardeners hacking away at overgrown shrubs every single year!

Garden writer and blogger, author of 65 gardening books, lecturer and communicator, the Laidback Gardener, Larry Hodgson, passed away in October 2022. Known for his great generosity, his thoroughness and his sense of humor, he reached several generations of amateur and professional gardeners over his 40-year career. Thanks to his son, Mathieu Hodgson, and a team of contributors, will continue its mission of demystifying gardening and making it more accessible to all.

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