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Prune Your Shrubs Or Beware Of A Bush Ambush
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Prune Your Shrubs Or Beware Of A Bush Ambush

Bushes are always planted with the best intentions. The landscapes of newly built homes are often punctuated with perfect dots of bushes near the front door and under windows. For a few years these plantings maintain their manners and keep within their designated space even without proper pruning and trimming. The homeowner, lulled into the inaccurate assumption that the shrub is no-maintenance, is often caught dumb-founded 10 years later when he realizes his infant shrub has morphed into a window-swallowing monster that cannot be tamed.

Often shrub and bush disasters go undetected by the homeowner because he has become immune to the unsightliness. Just as a hoarder can overlook the expanse of his clutter, so too the homeowner is immune to his hideous hedge. Many times it’s not until the home is being prepared to sell that the owner looks on the bushes with new eyes and realizes the hedge horror he has been living with.

Take a step back and look at your home through the eyes of your visitors and guests. Does the entry way look inviting or is it reminiscent of an evil hedge maze in a scary movie? Do the shrubs in your front yard block your front windows? It may be time to take some action.

The best bush strategy is to let the plant know you are in control from the very beginning. To do that, you must trim and prune it yearly at the least. Don’t worry; this is not a daunting task. Each type of shrub or bush requires unique pruning and trimming, so do check with your local garden center if you are not sure. By trimming and pruning you will keep it from growing out of proportion to its space.

Evergreen bushes, such as boxwoods, hollies, and Euonymus need to be pruned, or thinned to keep the center healthy. If this is not done the plant will appear hollow in the center, making it quite an ugly sight if it has to be cut back drastically. You can use a hedge trimmer or shears, but don’t forget to hand prune it, too. It’s important to remove some of the inner shrub to allow adequate sunlight to reach the entire plant.

To begin the pruning process, first start with a clean bypass pruner. You don’t want to pass on any diseases from other plants, so always disinfect your tools. (An easy and non-corrosive disinfectant is original Listerine mouthwash.) Using your pruner reach in and clip branches at 45 degree angle every few feet to open up a few holes for the sunlight. This will prevent the shrub from turning brown on the inside and will keep it healthy.

The best time to trim most shrubs is in winter before buds have set. If you want to trim a flowering shrub, wait for the blossoms to turn brown before trimming. The natural growth pattern of bushes is normally wider at the top. When trimming, try to reverse this trend by shaping a narrower top or crown. By crowning your bushes you will allow more sunlight to reach more of the plant and you will keep bush-damaging snow from accumulating.

Shrubs and bushes are an important part of landscape and design and help create a more picturesque garden. Because they are of medium height, they help balance your yard and connect the low lying ground cover with the tall trees. One of the best features of shrubs and bushes is that they come in a variety of shapes and styles for your garden design: showy flowers, lacy limbs, or thick fortress-like walls. It's easy to find one that is perfect for your garden needs. As long as you tend to your bushes and shrubs on a yearly basis you won’t be ambushed by monster-caliber shrubbery.


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