Wednesday, September 26, 2012

When to Prune - Timing for Rejuvenation Pruning

Loping shears for large branches

Shrubs are a valuable part of the landscape, filling the niche intermediate between lawn and trees. Shrubs are planted for their ornamental characteristics such as flowers, foliage, fall color, or fruit. Proper pruning by Crabapple LandscapExperts maintains plant health, controls or shapes plant growth and stimulates flowering. 

Many deciduous shrubs (the ones that lose their leaves in fall plus broadleaf evergreens) can be kept healthy and vigorous by removing a few of the oldest, thickest stems every couple of years. If this process is neglected shrubs become leggy and overgrown, and then rejuvenation pruning is needed.

Botanically Speaking
A shoot consists of a stem with a growing tip and leaves. When the growing tip is removed (pruned) then dormant, lateral buds at the base of each leaf are stimulated to grow, and the branch becomes more “bushy”. Dormant buds at the base of the shrub can also begin growth if older branches are removed at ground level.

Rejuvenation pruning is best accomplished while the shrubs are dormant- late fall through late winter. Consult your Crabpple Rep now for scheduling.

One technique used by our Crabapple LandscapExperts is to selectively remove one-third to one-half of the large overgrown branches from the base of the plant using long-handled lopers. This stimulates dormant buds to grow, producing vigorous young branching from the base.

Holly stumps will soon resprout
A drastic method we employ with success for hugely-overgrown hollies for example is to cut them back to 6 inches from the soil using a chain saw (!) on the trunks. This leaves large unsightly stumps-- but only for 3-4 weeks, until dormant buds begin to grow. Soon, within 6 to 8 weeks, a beautiful, small young holly replaces the former encroaching giant. Afterward, arrange for your LandscapExperts to take care that they are properly pruned and maintained in future.

Conifer Caution
Large, overgrown evergreens are a more difficult problem. It is sometimes best to remove overgrown junipers or arborvitaes and other evergreens that cannot be pruned back severely because they will never re-grow new shoots. Junipers for example, have a large dead zone in the center with few dormant buds that cannot be stimulated to grow. Crabapple techs know never to remove all the greenery from a juniper branch because no new branches will be initiated from bare wood. In this case, your LandscapExpert will suggest removal and replanting with appropriate shrubs.

For more pruning strategies, contact your Crabapple LanscapExperts Rep at 770-740-9739.  

No comments:

Post a Comment