How to Trim Ball-Shaped Shrubs


When most people think of topiary, they think of exotic animals and fanciful shapes. But the most common forms of topiary include geometric shapes such as spirals, squares, rectangles and circles. Maintaining the shape of a topiary ball can be challenging. The secret to trimming a topiary circle is to use a guide. Without a guide, a free-hand topiary circle can soon look lopsided or even oval in shape.

Step 1

Cut a length of galvanized wire long enough to circle your shrub.

Step 2

Flex the wire to the point that it curves into a perfect circle.

Step 3

Turn on a soldering gun and allow it to heat. Melt a bead of solder on one end of the galvanized wire. Touch the other end of the galvanized wire to the bead of solder. Allow the soldier to dry, fixing the wire into a perfect circle.

Step 4

Soak a cloth with liquid bleach. Swipe the cloth over the blades of garden shears before trimming your shrub to prevent the spread of disease.

Step 5

Place the galvanized wire circle over your shrub to act as a guide. Snip away the tips of any branches that extend beyond the guide.

Tips and Warnings

  • Always wear protective gloves when working with soldering tools. Soldering should be performed in a well-ventilated room to avoid inhaling gases released by solder flux.

Things You'll Need

  • Galvanized wire
  • Wire cutter
  • Wire soldering flux
  • Garden shears
  • Bleach
  • Cloth


  • Topiary Arts: Cutting and Shaping
  • Gardening Know How: How to Make Your Own Topiary
  • Garden Artisans: Topiary Frames
  • "The Complete Garden"; Albert D. Taylor; 1921

Who Can Help

  • Miriam Nurseries: Topiaries Require Work, But are Worth the Effort
Keywords: trimming ball shaped topiary, cutting topiary in a perfect circle, shaping shrubs into topiary

About this Author

Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."