Thursday, May 3, 2012

Hedge Pruning Tips



In last week’s blog we explored the many functions of hedges. Crabapple LandscapeExperts can keep existing hedges looking their best for property managers and Homeowner's Association committees. Decorative hedges enhance the proportion and appearance of house and lawns, and are cost effective, long lasting and low maintenance

2 Types of Pruning
Formal shearing

Crabapple recommends that only hedges with small-leaved plants be selected for formal shearing because when they are sculpted with manual, electrical- or gas-powered hedge shears to achieve a smooth surface, cuts made on small leaves are unobtrusive.

A narrow pyramid or upside-down “V” shape is ideal because this allows sunlight to reach the lower branches. Lower branches won’t be shaded by upper ones and the hedge will keep its leaves all the way down to the ground.

The hedge should be proportionately tapered, with the base of a five-foot hedge about 2 ½ feet wide and tapering to about one foot at the top. Instead of a flat tabletop, we keep the top of your hedge slightly rounded or pointed.

Informal growth

On the other hand, an informal hedge is often a row of shrubs closely planted next to each other, but allowed to grow naturally. Branches are selectively removed with hand clippers to maintain a desired height and width while allowing the natural shape to dominate. These hedges are often wider and can include flowering shrubs like Knockout Roses, Loropetalum or Potentilla.

Hedges can be kept vigorous for years by annually or biennially thinning out one third to one fourth of the oldest branches. This also keeps ornamental red or yellow winter bark colorful. We use loppers to remove old wood at the base when we rejuvenate your hedge every couple of years.

Time to Prune is Now! 

Late spring after the shrubs have hardened off this spring’s growth is a great time to prune. Slow-growers that require only one shearing a year can be pruned in May or June. Fast-growing shrubs can be trimmed up in mid to late July and finally in early to mid September. Ask your Crabapple Rep about keeping your hedges trim.
Photo credits thanks to ColoState.edu, CAES.UGA.edu and BuckinhamNurseries

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