If you have shrubs in your garden or yard, you might notice that they can get overgrown very quickly. It is essential that you keep them trimmed regularly. However, the last thing you want to do is hack away at them, leaving uneven spaces and bald spots. Here are some tips for properly pruning shrubs, whether they are flowering or other types of shrubs.
Prepare for Pruning the Shrubs
Before you actually start cutting, you want to get rid of the old and dead branches. Look through the shrubs and find damaged or dead branching, removing them with your pruning shears. If they are thick branches, you may need a lopper tool or even a saw for extra-thick ones. If the tool you are using is leaving ragged edges, it is not sharp enough for what you're trying to cut.
Cutting in the Right Place
The quality of your pruning job depends a lot of where you are cutting. Many people mistakenly start hacking away, then are not happy with the finished result. When looking at the branches you want to cut, find an area of bumpy tissue on the branch, also called a branch collar. You want to cut directly above this point. This area has cells that promote plant growth, so if you cut below them, your plant isn't going to survive as long.
Choosing the Right Angle
The angle of the cut also makes a difference in how your shrub turns out. Try to cut the branches at a slanted 45-degree angle. By doing this, you reduce your risk for fungus. If it is a flat cut across, this is going to help collect water every time it rains, which promotes disease and fungus of your shrub.
Achieving a Natural Look
To get a natural look while pruning your shrubs, there is a technique known as "heading back" that can prove very useful. For this technique, start by finding the tallest branch on the shrub, and following it to a lower branch that is pointing upwards. Cut the tall branch directly above the smaller branch you found. Continue doing this with all taller, main branches. This will give you maximum height and growth, while still maintaining a natural appearance.
These basic tips can help you keep your shrubs pruned and maintained for an attractive appearance. Keep in mind these instructions are for smaller shrubs with narrow branches. If you have a large tree and hefty branches to cut, a tree trimming service like Tall Timbers Tree & Shrub Service Inc should be called.