Pruning Shrubs And Hedges

How to properly prune a hedge depends on the type of hedge you have. If your seeking a certain look then you should find the right plant to fit your personnal preference or trimmimg style. Pruning requirements differ from plant to plant. Informal hedges are shrubs which develop into a natural shape. Annual pruning is done to thin and shape just enough to maintain a desired height and width.

Formal hedges have a definitive outline of foliage from top to bottom. They should be trimmed while new growth is green. The most common mistake is to trim a hedge into a tightly squared off shape. The top of the hedge should be slightly narrower than the bottom to allow sunlight to reach all the leaves. When hedges are improperly pruned, they will eventually thin out, become leggy, and possibly die due to lack of sunlight. It's best to prune flowering plants after they have bloomed as to not cut off buds.

If you have older shrubs that look straggly and or leggy, or just look bad from years of improper pruning, simply cut them down to within a few inches of the ground in early spring. Over the next few years most plants will typically regrow in their natural form. Another alternative is to cut back about one third of the plant each year for three years. Again, this doesn't work with all plants, so always feel free to ask your lawn care professional for any tips and advice!