Pruning overgrown shrub branches

Yesterday, as I pulled into my driveway, I was looking at the shrubs in my front yard, and a sudden realization of just how overgrown they had become dawned on me. In the back of my mind, I knew that they needed to be pruned, but I didn’t really want to admit that I had let that happen. Sometimes things do get away from us, however, so out I went with a good pair of pruners, loppers, and a small handsaw and went to work. A number of my front shrubs were Spring bloomers, so I needed to wait until they were done blooming before I could prune them.
    Spring blooming shrubs can benefit from a method of pruning known as renewal pruning. This method removes 1/3 of the oldest growth down to the ground and encourages new growth. This is also recommended for red twig and yellow twig Dogwoods, where the brightest stem colors are on the newest growth.
    In some cases, plants may be extremely over grown and near impossible to remove 1/3 of the oldest growth. In cases such as these, you may employ a different method of pruning known as rejuvenation pruning; this method is more drastic. By removing all growth down to 4-6 inches above the ground, the plant will respond with a flush of new growth. Three to five years later (depending on the growth) use renewal pruning to maintain those shrubs.  

  To view more, please log in or subscribe to the digital edition.