Gardening Laidback Gardener Tip of the Day Pruning Shrubs

Pruning Shrubs Is Rarely Obligatory

Before you prune a shrub, ask yourself, “Is this really necessary?” Source:

Strangely enough, when someone buys a shrub, their first question is often: “When do I prune it?” But that’s not the right question to ask. Instead, you should be asking, “Do I need to prune it?” And if the answer is yes, simply buy something else! Life is too short to waste it pruning shrubs on a regular basis!

The truth is that only a tiny number of shrubs really need annual pruning … and most of those are bush roses (hybrid teas and their friends). The long-held belief that pruning improves blooming is largely a myth: the shrubs that bloom the most heavily and spectacularly are usually those who have either not been pruned at all or only very rarely, usually just to remove dead or broken branches as well as any suckers arising from the soil.

It can be helpful to rejuvenate aging deciduous shrubs from time to time, but that’s often only every 10 years or so. Source:

True enough, many shrubs do age badly, filling up with dead branches over time, but that only requires a correction every 10 years or so: just rejuvenate most non-coniferous shrubs by cutting them practically to the ground and they’ll grow right back, healthier than ever.

So, if you want a low-maintenance yard, pull up your lawn (very high maintenance!) and put in shrubs instead. It will make your gardening life so much easier!20180503A

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

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