Video:Trim a Shrub or Hedgewith Amanda Switzer
Trim your shrubs or hedges the right way to ensure they stay healthy and keep your home looking beautiful.See Transcript
Transcript:Trim a Shrub or HedgeI'm Amanda Switzer for About.com Home. Today we're talking about foundation plantings.
What Are Foundation Plantings?These are the shrubs that are painted at the base of homes to conceal the concrete layer found on most homes, to provide shade and privacy, or to accentuate architectural details found in many houses.
Foundation plantings are sometimes chosen for aesthetic reasons, or to attract wildlife and birds. But in most cases they're chosen for durability. Some examples of these plants are hydrangeas, rhododendrons viburnums, shrub-roses, and spirea.
Why Hedge or Shrub Trimming Is ImportantWhen you first plant your foundation plantings, you may think they'll never grow to maturity. But then one day they take over your house. Exterior shingles, paint, and stain get worn away from the rubbing of the branches, and your house loses its general aesthetic appeal.
Not only does pruning control the size of your plant, it maintains a healthy plant. By pruning your plant, you encourage growth from the base, and this creates a well-balanced plant.
Learn About Your WaterThe amount of pruning you do depends on plant material you have in your water. And in order to learn more about this, you can consult your local nursery, look online, or buy informative landscape books, such as Michael Dirr's, Manual of Woody Landscape Plants, which is the bible in the landscape trade.
Decide When to Prune Plants
Next step is to decide what time of year to prune your plants. In areas that have defined growing seasons, winter is the best time. The leaves have fallen off the shrub, revealing the structure of the shrub, making it much easier to prune.
There are plants whose flower buds sometimes develop on the previous season's growth, and you might have to sacrifice flower blooms in order to maintain your shrub border. Sometimes the flower blooms on current season's growth, and you want to prune it prior to flowering.
Tools Needed to Trim a Shrub or HedgeSo when you finally have an idea of what shrubs are in your border and when the optimal time to prune is, you're ready to go. What you'll need is:
- a pair of sharpened pruners
- a pair of loppers (for those really stubborn branches)
- a tarp or a garbage pail (depending on what kind of debris you have)
How to PruneIn this example, I have a red twin dogwood that was out of control. I cut it back with a very heavy hand because it's such a rigorous grower, and it can withstand that kind of pruning.
When making cuts, you want to make the cut above the bud and at an angle. This way moisture won't build-up, and you won't have disease and mildew problems.
When cutting back evergreen shrubs, it's important to cut back one branch at a time. This way you won't expose barren branches and leave gaping holes in your plants.
So when you feel that your house is being swallowed-up by your foundation plantings, don't be shy. Do a little research, sharpen your pruners, get out there and prune.
Thanks for watching. To learn more, visit us on the Web at homegarden.about.com.
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