How do I prune _____?
That sits right at the top of our list of frequently asked
questions. So we bet you face at least one of the situations listed
or pictured here:
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• A weeper or a spreader that's creeping over a walkway
• A dwarf that is outgrowing your expectations
• A specimen you want to keep beautifully shaped
• A plant whose shape you want to change or reclaim
• A plant that's gotten out of hand and has to be reduced in
We're entering prime pruning season right now so we will be out
in the field tending our gardens, giving free lessons,
and posting illustrated reports here. For instance, thus far:
• Mugo pine,
• Restriction pruning steps applied
to a yew hedge,
• a topiary...
• and quite a variety of others "on deck."
If you have
a plant you want to know how to prune, now is the time to drop
us a line, send us a photo, join us in the field, or do all
Below: Gasp! It's the "after" to the photo
at top right. No, it's not cut too drastically and yes it will come
back fully. (Click to look at that cut's play by
Your presentation on pruning
...changed my whole outlook on conifers
-- as in, prune rather than move!
John Amdall, American Conifer Society
Many times we have less change to make or can
follow a more gradual pruning timeline.
cuts are less drastic, or look that way even if they
remove a lot of the plant.
Below: Here we cut plenty but the
deceptive. We were glad we left our wheelbarrow
full of clippings in the second photo so we could
identify it as our "after" image.
Below, left: Spreading junipers are
frequent candidates for pruning. In this case, it's not simply the
nature of the juniper that's caused it to overreach its bed. It's
being pushed by the spruce behind it. Both juniper and spruce can
be pruned, late summer is an excellent time to do it, and so these
two are on our upcoming hit list. Be sure to check that
list to see if the plant you have questions about pruning is
there. Email us if you want a plant added to that list!
Below, right: A weeping blue cedrus is also
likely to encroach on a walkway, albeit from a higher plane. It
also tends to have a higher price tag than a juniper, another
source of anxiety when it's time to prune.
Send us your pruning questions, or come join us in the field to
learn hands on. (More about the free workshops called
Garden by Janet & Steven, and a calendar of where we're
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