Have you ever wondered: Is that how my shrub is supposed to look? Since we are in an area that has good weather, and allows for a large planting palette of shrubs and other various plant material, a lot of our houses and subdivisions have an interesting plethora of landscape materials.
With these shrubs, several questions can arise:
- Do I want ice cream balls throughout my landscape beds?
- Do I want to keep this area screened from view?
- Is there something that I am missing beyond that Privet hedge?
- Do I have to have a landscape maintenance contractor to prune my shrubs?
These are several questions that I hear when beginning a new design for a house with existing landscape. Several of these questions can be addressed with good design from the beginning of your project. Proper plant selection for certain garden areas in the beginning can make a huge difference in your pruning requirements. Because shrubs are living and growing things, even the best placed shrub will still need some upkeep to keep it looking its best, and allow you to fully enjoy your landscape.
One of the biggest pruning mistakes that people make is to use hedge trimmers on shrubs that do not need to be sheared. Certain shrubs like Loropetalums and Junipers are not meant to be pruned into balls, or squared shrubs. They have a naturally open and loose habit that in order to fully enjoy their attributes should be allowed to grow to their proper form. I think that so many people see poor maintenance on several of our commercial buildings, and think “That is how my shrubs should look” without realizing the consequences of the poor pruning.
One example of shearing that people do not realize is that they can be causing themselves additional maintenance, and cost. When shrubs are pruned into small balls and not allowed to grow into their natural form, it requires more mulch to cover the ground plane that the shrub would normally cover adding monetary cost to the garden. This also allows sunlight to areas that would have been shaded by shrubbery warming seeds that are in the mulch, or soil and germinating those pesky weeds that we all wish would just go away adding timing cost for additional weed pulling in our gardens.
We are fortunate to have the Huntsville-Madison County Botanical Garden as an asset to our great city. Plan to join Harvey Cotten for an informative lecture (Pruning 101) about the proper pruning of shrubs to help you avoid these costly items in your garden as well as the opportunity to learn about additional ways that you can help make your garden more enjoyable. Plus with the opportunity to tour the garden afterwards, you may find some surprises that would be a nice addition to your own garden to help jumpstart your spring and move you past winter’s landscape.