Due to their continual growth, shrubs need to be pruned on a regular basis to maintain optimum health and plant performance. When you prune regularly, you can control shape and growth, in addition to encouraging a regular bloom cycle for flowering shrubs. However, when shrubbery is not pruned frequently, it becomes overgrown and difficult to manage. This is when rejuvenation pruning is required.
Rejuvenation pruning is when larger limbs and branches are removed from shrubs so that new growth can come in, making the plants easier to manage with regular pruning techniques. There are a couple of approaches to rejuvenation pruning that can be considered. The type of pruning that you choose should ultimately depend on the variety of ornamental tree or shrub in need of rejuvenation.
You can gradually rejuvenate shrubs by pruning approximately one-third of the largest, most unruly stems in the late winter or early spring season. This timing can, of course, vary based on your climate zone. The following year, you would prune another third of the plant, and in the 3rd year, the final third. This will keep much of the shrub intact while allowing you to thin it out each season. Ensure that you perform regular pruning on any new growth during each consecutive season.
This method of pruning is a bit more severe but can be beneficial if your shrubs have become too much to manage. When you hard prune a shrub, you will typically cut its limbs down to 6-12″ off the ground. This should be done in the late winter, early spring timeframe similar to gradual pruning. Unlike the gradual approach, however, this method requires the plant to grow back from the cuttings and will take some time to get back to a desirable size and shape. Before hard pruning, be sure to determine if the plant type in question will be able to sustain itself. Some varieties do not respond well to hard pruning. Other flowering varieties, such as lilacs can be hard pruned, but may not bloom new flowers in the 2-3 years following rejuvenation.
Do you have questions about pruning the shrubs in your landscape? Our Canopy Lawn Care Pros are skilled in proper pruning techniques, and many of our customers receive regular pruning service in addition to their lawn mowing or other lawn care packages. Learn more or request a quote today!