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Dormant Season Pruning

As I had mentioned a few weeks ago, fall is a great time to trim back some shrubs.   But, what about those Junipers and that “Ogre” of a shrub I had mentioned earlier.   

Junipers take very well to being trimmed during the dormant season.  While some prefer the formal sheared look, I prefer a more natural hand prune for Junipers.  This allows air and light to still reach into the center of the plant which promotes growth from the center and reduces what I call the “thick/thin” layer.  By “thick” I mean very dense growth that does not allow you to see into the shrub.  By “thin” I mean this green layer is generally only a couple inches thick.  So if you trim these couple inches off of this particular shrub you are only left with only sticks.   If you have had the unfortunate experience to do this type of trimming then you realize that Junipers do not respond well.  Also if a branch dies in a sheared Juniper, the hole that is left sticks out like a sore thumb.  Hand pruning takes a little practice, and as the saying goes “practice makes perfect”.

Now that over grown shrub in front of your window.   Depending what type of shrub you have will determine how drastic you can trim it back.   The best time of year for a rejuvenating prune is during the dormant season before shrub would generally leaf out.  While some shrubs do respond to being cut to the ground, I generally prefer a more selective pruning by thinning out some canes and trimming back the remaining canes.  A general rule is to remove about 1/3 of the canes.  However, there are some shrubs that just may not be worth trying to prune and just need to be replaced. 

If you need any help with dormant season pruning just let us know.


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