Video:How to Prune Topiarywith Charlie Siegchrist
Topiary, or bushes cut into decorative shapes, adds a playful element to your landscape. Learn how to prune and maintain topiary in your yard.See Transcript
Transcript:How to Prune TopiaryHi, I'm Charlie Siegchrist for About.com Home & Garden, and today we are talking about pruning.
What is Topiary?Evergreens that are clipped closely like this to a particular shape take their name from the Greek slaves who used to tend Roman gardens, who were the topiary. So these are topiary. And basically it is a single shrub and it has been pruned over the years to assume a certain shape.
Starting TopiaryThese things are best when they are started young in life. This one had an 8 or 9 year run before one of my children decided it would make a good pig, and we have been working it into shape ever since. It's getting there.
The Science of TopiaryThe way that evergreens work, be they this or big spruce trees, redwoods, whatever, there is an outer green shell where all the photosynthesis takes place, and in where the light can't reach, the plant is essentially bald.
Keep the Shears at a Flat AngleIn maintaining the shape of this, basically we want to run the shears flat. We do not want to be in like this - we would be digging the points in and taking off a great deal in one spot and not much in the next. Where we want it flat, we keep the shears flat.
Shape the TopiaryThere are places where the pig is going to have indented cheeks for example, or a low spot at the back of its head, so you need to sort of envision what you are after as you prune. And you can see the difference from fore to aft in the pig -- how smooth and tight it is here, and how this summer's growth (that's already been pruned once) comes out again.
These yews are extremely popular as foundation plants, and they quite often get trimmed into drums or cones or balls at the front of residences, but they are perfectly capable of turning into this.
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