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When & How to Trim Bushes & Shrubs?

By Bob Dobbs ; Updated September 21, 2017
Shrubs and bushes require occasional pruning.

Healthy green shrubs and bushes add privacy and beauty to a yard. Overgrown, diseased or dying bushes or shrubs make a landscape seem ignored and ugly. Properly trimmed and pruned plants not only look better, they are also often healthier than their unkempt counterparts. Since even a novice can learn to trim a shrub, this is one of the easiest ways to improve the appearance of your lawn.

When To Trim

Trim your bushes and shrubs when they look overgrown. Look for a loss of shape and aesthetic appeal. Notice whether the bush seems too tall or too wide.

Trim when you notice the bush beginning to cut out the sunlight and crowd in on the space of other plants and flowers.

Prune whenever you notice the center of the bush beginning to lose leaves, taking on a twiggy appearance. This is a result of the inner part of the plant not receiving enough sunlight because of the outer branches taking over.

Trim and prune bushes that have begun to take on a sickly appearance. Removing infected or diseased portions of the bush will give the rest a better chance at survival.

How To Trim

Trim back overgrown branches on the outside of the bush. Cut them back until the plant takes on a more appealing form. Make sure to leave enough main branches to keep from doing harm.

Top the bush or shrub, cutting it down to the preferred height. This will also help sunlight to reach the inside, encouraging new growth.

Prune out dead and yellowed leaves and branches. If any branches or leaves appear to have a fungus, bacteria or other type of infections, remember to remove those as well.

Make clean cuts down toward the base of branches. This will help prevent infection from setting into the fresh wound.

Rake up fallen leaves and branches and remove from the area. This is especially important in cases of disease and infection, to prevent spreading.

 

Things You Will Need

  • Gardening gloves
  • Pruning shears
  • Clippers
  • Rake

About the Author

 

Bob Dobbs has been working as a freelance writer since 2005. His work has appeared in numerous online and print publications including Think+Up and Travels.com. Dobbs earned his Bachelor of Arts in English in 2006.