Shrubs are great additions to your yard as a shade plant or as an ornament in a garden. Many people plant their shrubs and leave them to grow as they wish, without providing any care. Shrubs require a certain amount of maintenance to preserve their shape and health.
Pruning is the practice of cutting away excessive growth, as well as dead or dying branches. Removing branches that rub against each other or cross paths ensures that the shrub gets enough light throughout the plant and keeps branches from becoming twisted. This helps to encourage flowering and maintains the tree form.
Begin pruning when the plant is young to help promote a strong base. When planting the shrub, remove any dead, dying or broken branches so that they do not promote disease in the plant. Removing any crossing branches keeps the plant from getting tangled. As the shrub begins to grow, consider cutting the lower branches to raise the crown of the shrub.
As the shrub ages, pruning should be done every year. Remove nearly one-third of the oldest branches, especially the thickest ones, cutting them all the way to the ground. This will encourage new sprouts to form form the roots and thin out the shrub for better growth.
Use the right tools to prevent damage to your shrub. Use good pruning shears for small branches, lopping shears and handsaws for large branches. Make sure to keep the tools sharpened and free of rust.
Check your shrub regularly for signs of disease and fungal infection. Knowing the exact species of your shrub will help you in identifying the problem. Take good notes of the weather conditions, fertilizer used, soil type, plant age and your care. Check to see if any other shrubs are affected.