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

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.

0 comments on “Pruning Shrubs Is Rarely Obligatory

Leave a Reply

Sign up for the Laidback Gardener blog and receive articles in your inbox every morning!

%d bloggers like this: