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How to Trim Pine Shrubs

pine tree image by pershing from <a href=''></a>

Pine shrubs, like the mugo pine, are technically trees that can be shaped into a shrublike shape. Trimming, or pruning, a pine is an important part the tree-shrub&#039;s maintenance if you want to maintain a shrublike size and shape. Prune and trim pine shrubs in the summer when new growth is forming. Iowa State University recommends pruning pine shrubs between June and early July. A second light trim in the late summer will keep your pine shrub looking neat for the coming winter.

Look at the overall shape of the pine shrub and identify the areas you want to trim. You must keep pine shrubs small through annual pruning, beginning when the plant is a sapling. Left to themselves, pine shrubs will quickly become full-size trees.

Identify the new growth of candle-shaped greenery on the end of each branch. Using your fingers, pinch off half the new growth. This will force the new growth to remain close to the center of the shrub.

Cut off unwanted limbs close to the trunk of the shrub. Use a sharp, clean pruning saw for large branches; clip smaller branches with sturdy, sterile pruning shears.

Shrubs That Produce Pine Cone Type Flowers

The deciduous white alder (Alnus rhombifolia) is native to California and can grow in very wet soil along the West Coast. Its flowers appear in March and are shaped like small pine cones; they are only about an inch long. Also deciduous, the greasewood shrub (Sarcobatus vermiculatus) can grow up to 8 feet high and is found across the western United States. The branches of the shrub often grow several inches apart, giving the shrub a spiky appearance. The plant produces two types of flowers: one that is cone-shaped, green with a touch of red, and one that is more open and funnel-shaped. These shrubs are drought-tolerant and flourish in full sun. The tall, thin, cone-shaped blooms can be dried and stored in sachets in your drawers to keep your clothes and linens smelling fresh. It grows best in well-draining soil in full sun. The plant grows best in zones 8 through 11 and can reach 3 to 7 feet high. It can spread out up to 3 feet.


Avoid pruning evergreen shrubs in the fall; cold winter temperatures will damage a freshly pruned evergreen shrub. Use your fingernails or a pair of small shears to pinch or clip off the fresh green growth from your pine shrubs. Hedge clippers will damage the delicate needles, according to Cornell University.

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