|09-24-2008, 11:53 AM||#1|
Join Date: Jun 2008
Pruning Flowering Shrubs and Bushes - Some Essential Tips For Success
The role of most landscape shrubs and bushes is to serve as a screen or backdrop. Some species while primarily acting as such, also add color to the garden with their flowers, foliage or decorative fruit, although this should not be at the expense of their landscaping role. A clear distinction should be made between them and shrubs such as roses that are specifically grown for their flower color. In the case of the former, (the essentially landscaping bushes) the aim of pruning is to maintain a compact, dense growth habit, without entirely eliminating the flower buds in the process. With heavy-duty flowering shrubs however, pruning is designed simply to increase the number and quality of the blooms.
Plants that are left unpruned produce flowers at the tips of old stems. Pruning the plant down by a third or a half of its height however, creates young, vital tissue. The flowers that emerge from them are likely, as previously mentioned to be both more numerous and of superior quality. Another reason for annual pruning is to ensure that the flowers appear more or less at eye level and not up in the sky!
A crucial question for the gardener is whether the plant blooms on the current year's growth, or on that of the previous year. Most flower on juvenile growth that originated during the spring of the current year. Whether the plant is pruned in the winter as with deciduous species, or in the spring, as is the case with evergreen and non-hardy plants, the annual prune may delay the appearance of the flowers, but it should dramatically improve the blooming nonetheless.
Some plants however, including a number of wild roses, flower on tissue that originated in the spring of the previous year. This means that winter or spring pruning, i.e. pruning that is carried out prior to the emergence of the flowers, will only succeed in removing the flower buds from the plant's stems. It is not uncommon to hear a home gardener say with some frustration; "my Lilac bush is very lovely. It never seems to flower though" Small wonder!
Therefore, the rule with such plants is to prune them after they have finished flowering, unless they produce decorative or edible fruit. However many species, especially roses, suffer from a heavy prune that is carried out in the middle of their growing season. The answer is to remove the spent flowers, (deadheading) without resorting to a serious, structural prune. If the plant really needs such treatment, then it is best to wait for the appropriate season, and give up on the flowers for one year.
Regular, serious pruning takes its toll on the energy level and general health of any plant, including shrubs and bushes. One cannot afford to ignore the other requirements of the plant, particularly those relating to soil aeration, moisture levels, and feeding. Plants like roses, which are grown for their flower color, and as a result, are subjected to intensive horticultural practices (i.e. pruning) have a limited life span - perhaps 10-15 years of worthwhile performance. Landscaping shrubs, including those that flower, should be seen as a more long-term proposition, and so the pruning over the years, should be less intensive, even at the expense of reduced flowering and less showy blooms.
Jonathan Ya'akobi has been gardening in a professional capacity since 1984.
The former head gardener of the Jerusalem Botanical Garden, he now concentrates on building gardens for private home owners and teaching horticulture courses. Visit his website: Dry Climate Gardening or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Article source: ezinearticles.com
|flowering shrubs, pruning, tips|
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