Do you have any overgrown bushes and shrubs that are touching the house, interfering with the walkway, or just plain too big? Before you consider removing the shrub, try rejuvenation pruning.
There are two types of rejuvenation pruning. Extensive rejuvenation pruning is cutting the shrub to a height of 4-12 inches. The shrub will immediately start growing new, healthy, vigorous shoots.
If you don’t like this drastic approach, there is a second type of rejuvenation pruning called gradual rejuvenation pruning. Over a period of three years, you gradually remove 1/3 of the oldest stems every year until you have a fully rejuvenated shrub. This method takes longer to complete but will leave you with a shrub that stays more attractive throughout the rejuvenation period. Using both rejuvenation pruning methods will leave you with the same result; a new, vigorous, healthy plant that can be easily maintained in its natural form. Most of the shrubs that respond well to extensive rejuvenation pruning will also respond well to gradual rejuvenation pruning.
There are a few things to keep in mind with rejuvenation pruning:
- Not all shrubs respond well to this type of pruning. Avoid rejuvenation pruning to junipers, boxwood, and shrubs that have only one primary trunk.
- Spring flowering shrubs won’t flower the year the rejuvenation cut is made.
- Timing is very important. Rejuvenation pruning can be performed with some shrubs right after flowering, but the best time is late winter, right before the plant starts to bud.
- Additionally, pruned shrubs should be watered and fertilized due to stress and shock.
Rejuvenation pruning and renewal pruning are two techniques that can reduce the size and volume of many shrubs without unduly harming them. Which is more appropriate in a given situation will depend on the plant species, the shrub’s function in the landscape, and the wishes of the property owner.
Shrubs are an important part of landscaping. They are used to create privacy, establish borders, and provide interesting foliage and flowers. We find too often, shrubs are planted and then allowed to grow with little or no management except a periodic shearing. Eventually, many shrubs grow too big for their original site. Now that winter is over, we see them everywhere we look… big, unruly, overgrown shrubs.