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Pruning Shrubs

Pruning shrubs is a small task that can make a big difference in your garden. Learn how to prune shrubs the right way for healthy branches and blooms all growing season long.

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The correct way to prune shrubs depends on the form of the plant. Some shrubs, such as Forsythia and Weigela grow from basal shoots. To control size, pick the oldest, largest shoots and trim them off at ground level. Other shrubs, grow as dense clumps with many branches like this Spirea. These may require only light shaping. But you can cut them back completely like this, to reduce size and regenerate a fresh crown. Boxwood, Myrtle, Junipers, Barberry and other shrubs are often clipped to form a hedge or manicured shape. These need regular shaping one or two times a season. Avoid cutting them back to the woody branches. Just shape them lightly on the outside with hedge shears. Some shrubs look best in an open, naturalistic form, such as Azaleas or this shrub Magnolia. These shrubs usually only need minor trimming to maintain a good shape. Avoid the temptation to shear every shrub in your landscape. By using the appropriate method for each shrub, result will be a healthier, more beautiful plant.