Panama City Beach Area 850-236-1959
Destin & Sandestin Area 850-267-0010

The Importance of Hard Pruning Your Landscape

by Emily Durgan | Thu, Mar 24, 2016

Our residential customers know that in Northwest Florida, there are no seasonal breaks when it comes to landscape maintenance.

Pruning is an essential maintenance service that landscaping companies provide for their regular customers because shrubs serve many purposes in a residential landscape design, such as:

  • A row of tall shrubs may give you privacy without a fence.
  • As popular as outdoor living areas are, some homeowners may want to create a separation between their outdoor kitchens and living and entertaining spaces.
  • Shrubs create a beautiful backdrop behind beds that contain annual and perennial plants and flowers.
  • Evergreen shrubs create interest during winter when many plants and shrubs are dormant.

Types of Pruning

There are two standard pruning methods: thinning and head cutting.

Thinning refers to the removal of entire branches. On young trees and shrubs, thinning is an effective way to control their growth habit. When shrubs are so crowded that branches from different plants overlap, thinning is the most efficient way to alleviate the overcrowding. Thinning is the technique that is used in rejuvenation pruning.

Head Cutting involves removing part of branches. This pruning method is used when the desired effect is to allow a shrub to grow taller without expanding in width, or to prevent the bush from growing taller, so its growth habit creates a fuller appearance.

When thinking about the range of possible plants and shrubs to use in creating their residential landscape design, homeowners often neglect important considerations such as the growth rate, the size of mature bushes, the amount of upkeep, and ongoing care that the plants they are choosing will require.

Here are some key reasons why pruning is such a vital component to landscape maintenance.

Maintain Size and Control Shape

Fast growing shrubs can be hard to contain. Pruning a bush to keep it from spreading out will encourage it to grow taller. Conversely, pruning a hedge to limit its height will force it to become wider, creating a fuller and lusher look.

Shrubs are often used to create the effect of a living fence or wall, or screen, or as edging. Over time, as the shrub spreads, this creates the illusion of a continuous line. The only way to maintain the look is with regular hedge pruning.

Get Rid of Localized Disease, Insect or Pest Infestations

Sometimes it is possible to remove the dead or decaying growth, or prune areas where insect or pest infestations weaken the plant. Excessive moisture creates an environment where fungal diseases thrive. Removing diseased parts of the plant can make it possible to control the problem without chemical treatments.

Encourage New Growth to Stimulate Flowering

Pruning old growth is an effective way to stimulate new growth. When shrubs produce flowers on the current season’s stem growth, heavy pruning will encourage new branch and leaf growth. The shrub will not have as many flowers after heavy pruning, but the flowers that do bloom will be significantly larger.

Pruning for Safety Reasons

Overgrown shrubs that are planted near driveways, close to houses, or along sidewalks, or anywhere near utility lines, need to be pruned to eliminate the safety hazard they pose. Thick branches will break in the wind and become dangerous projectiles during a hurricane. Safety pruning is an essential part of any grounds maintenance plan in Northwest Florida.

Rejuvenation vs. Hard Pruning:
What's the Difference?

Rejuvenation Pruning

Rejuvenation pruning is a three-year process that gradually removes the old growth. During the first year, a third of the branches are removed. During the second year, more old growth and any new growth is removed. The final year, all remaining old growth and more new growth is removed. Rejuvenation pruning is more suitable for old shrubs that that are full of stagnant growth that keeps the bush from flourishing and flowering. Rejuvenation pruning doesn’t disrupt the entire flowering cycle on shrubs whose flowers emerge from old growth.

Hard Pruning

Hard pruning involves cutting all of the stems and branches of a shrub off, leaving only one or two inches of growth above the ground. Hard pruning works best on shrubs that produce new stems every year. When the bush flowers, the flowers always emerge from the new growth. Hard pruning doesn’t disrupt the flowering cycle on fast growing bushes that produce new stems and branches every year.

Hard pruning wouldn’t work well on bushes that produce flowers on old growth because of the likelihood that the shrub would go into shock from the extensive removal of old growth, and the possibility that it might not bounce back.

Get Your Landscape Back On Track

Along with turf maintenance and landscape installation, landscape maintenance, which includes many of the types of pruning mentioned above, are some of the services that landscape maintenance companies in Northwest Florida perform.

If you’d like a consultation or want to know what we can do to help you, give us a call at our Panama City Beach office at (850) 236-1959, or call our Santa Rosa Beach office at (850) 267-0010 to set up an appointment. You can also fill out the online form on our website to schedule a consultation.

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