A. Pruning Benefits
Pruning has many benefits – from spurring growth to letting air & light into the plants, to helping guide the plant to filling out its shape. Regular pruning helps plant health and aesthetics in 5 ways:

1. Prevent overgrowth (leading to disease or breakage)
2. Guide plant growth pattern and shape
3. Optimize limb structure for strength
4. Control plant height and width
5. Boost flower production

At Clark’s, we train our crews to anticipate what the plant is going to do. For example, if we know a shrub under a window will typically grow 18” during the season, we’ll keep it at or below window sill level while it’s blooming, so we cut it back below the sill far enough to allow it that space to grow.

B. Pruning Techniques
We know which limbs to cut, where to cut, and which ones not to cut. We use a variety of techniques depending on the plant and the plan for the pruning process. Four pruning techniques we use are:

1. Shearing: Trimming the plant around the outside to maintain a clear shape or structure.
2. Thinning: Opens up the middle of the plant to allow more sunlight in, and that keeps the interior branches healthy to promote new growth.
3. Heading: Cutting long, single stems above a healthy bud. This encourages lower branches to bush out.
4. Cutbacks: Cutting plants to the ground during dormancy to stimulate vigorous spring growth from the base. For example, roses benefit from dramatic cutbacks because it keeps them compact and able to produce more blooms.

It’s all about how to apply the techniques. What guides us is design intent. How does this plant fit into the landscape? If it’s ornamental, are we maintaining symmetry with multiple plants of the same shape? Is this plant to drape over a walkway or soften the edges? To answer such questions we mix 3 things: landscape design style, the natural tendencies of the plant, and the preferences of the client.

C. Pruning Takes Finesse and Expertise
The challenge is to not have the landscape look overly trimmed. We’re constantly working to keep plants at the desired size, but still retain their natural form and beauty.

Pruning is one of the best things you can do for your landscaping. Well-pruned grounds grow fuller with a more attractive shape, produce more flowers, and are healthier overall. Good pruning takes your grounds to the next level, making them balanced & captivating as they’re meant to be.

To talk about taking your landscaping to the next level, call Clark’s today for a free consult.

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