Pruning Tips for Landscape Hedges

As the winter snows melt, it's time to assess your hedges to make sure they survived the snow and ice unscathed. It's also the time to begin preparing them for the spring and summer growing season so that you can ensure they continue to be healthy. The following tips can help you perform this spring time task.

Tip #1: Be cautious with damage

There are a couple of different types of winter damage you may come across as you check over your hedges. The most common is dead and broken branches. These cannot be saved, so it is best to cut them back to the base. On evergreen hedges, you may also see windburn, sunscald, or cold damage that has left you with a patch of brown or limp foliage or needles. Be patient with this type of damage. Wait until after the spring growth cycle before pruning, since evergreen often recover once they come out of dormancy.

Tip #2: Know when to trim

The timing for a full trimming depends on the type of shrub. Evergreens, for example, are typically pruned in late winter, with a secondary damage removal and light re-shaping trim in late spring or early summer. Non-flowering deciduous hedges are pruned in late winter or early spring just before new leaves appear. Flowering hedges are best pruned after they finish the blooming cycle, although damage can be pruned out in late winter or early spring. Just don't wait more than a couple of weeks after blooming, since many flowering shrubs begin producing the buds for next year's flowering soon after they complete the annual cycle for this year.

Tip #3: Avoid bare tips

A major issue with hedges, especially those pruned to a more formal shape, is the ugly branch tip. This is when a major pruning leaves a bunch of bare wood showing at the tips of the branches. There are tricks to avoid this. Evergreen hedges, particularly those that produce needles, should never be pruned back to the bare wood. This is because a branch trimmed back this far will not produce new needles from the woody center. Another trick, which applies to any hedge, is to place your cut carefully. Make all pruning cuts directly in front of an outside leaf bud. This way the leaf will hide the cut once it unfurls.

For more help in keeping your hedges healthy and attractive, contact a tree trimmer like Osorio Tree Service in your area.

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