View Full Version : Shrub Waiver

03-31-2008, 10:53 AM
How many of you would make a client sign a waiver if they wanted you to cut back more then 30% of their shrubs? I have a client that we did a spring cleanup for, but they want us to cut back like 50% of thier shrubs. I warned them that it would only leave exposed branches and probably kill the shrubs. Mostly Indian Hawthorns and Silver King Euonymus.

03-31-2008, 11:01 AM
i just turn them down if they want me to ruin their shrubs i am new to this on a full time insured level and need to keep my name and reputation up. i just dont need that right now but thats just my thoughts.

03-31-2008, 11:14 AM
just hacking a shrub to cut it back is bad, but deep /rejuvinative pruning if done properly can help a shrub recover from years of "shearing"

while In florida, I did a fair amoutn of heavy pruvingon things like ilex, pittosporum and hawthorne, with no ill effects. Yes the shrubs will look "bare" for about a year, but the end result would be a happier shrub that is better sized.

most people will come in with their shears and tip back the shrubs (apical cutting), and all that does is create more branches(brooming) while not really controling the size of the shrub. if you cut back 2-3" but the shrub is growing 6-10" each year........

Shearing is OK to do, but you still need to get the pruners out to go in deep to help keep shrubs at the proper height.

I would not balk at doing a deep prune job...just provide the client with a letter stating that the shrubs will not look real pleasing for a year or more. Depending on weather, fert, water, ect.. But int he end it will make for a better shrub.


03-31-2008, 11:40 AM
i just turn them down if they want me to ruin their shrubs i am new to this on a full time insured level and need to keep my name and reputation up. i just dont need that right now but thats just my thoughts.if done properly you wont ruin a shrub. and by education your clients on the proper ways, your reputation will be OK.....we do more damage by blindly shearing, all because its quick, easy and looks good.

03-31-2008, 01:40 PM
thanks marcsmith im used to trimming alot of overgrown evergreens and usually they have had no prior maintenance so the green growth does not go into the plant very deep. if i take it past this will the plant recover from the aggressive prune?

thanks for the input,

03-31-2008, 02:04 PM
yes and no.....here on campus we have severly cutback hollies, and yews with good regrowth, now you can get the occasional plant in a long hedge that just gives up the ghost on a hard prune. but they will look bad for some time. a year at least maybe longer... they key to doing it properly, if you have a client that is willing to wait, is do to it in stages over the course of a couple years. But most clients are impatient and want results "NOW"....I'll have to go take some pics of some stuff we have pruned really really hard over the last couple years, just to give you an idea of what is possible.

In most cases a really hard pruning is needed when the shrubs have gotten old/out of control. usually if they are really really old, its getting time to replace/replant anyhow, and a hard prune can be a stop gap measure. but if done properly it will turn out fine...again the key is communication with the client and their expectations....

03-31-2008, 03:05 PM
ok here are some pics........ first pic is some shrub roses. cut back 1/2 of their original height. you can see where they are starting top push out new growth

second pic is of an old Burfurd holly. it was over 6 feet tall. we had a sericity directive come down that some our of areas we had to do drastic pruning. again you can see where the new growth is beginning to fill. this is one of the situations where we had to do it and do it then. i was unable to talk the "client" into bring in down slowly. I do not recomend this method, but it can work, this is a "hack" job notice though I did not touch the width, only the height.. as the shrubs begins to fill I will bring the width back in.

03-31-2008, 03:11 PM
these next coule pf photos are from some Yew. they were as tall as the railing. we brought them down one year, and the following year we narrowed them up. This is one of the "make or break situations" its a real shady area so the regrowth is slow. but as you can see we are getting some growth. aew figured we'd try this and if they dies, we'd replant....so we lost nothing by cutting them back...

On the third pic you can see a holly. rather large...this is one situationwere we fought not to "hack it back". adn we won....This year after graduation(which is set up on the lawn were this holly is, we are going to reduce the height of the holly.. and the follwing year we will begin narrowing it up.

03-31-2008, 03:15 PM
inthis pic you will some viburnim. red line shows the average height. again we got the directive to cut em back...so we did, but you can see in the second pic a year later we have a good understory growth and we should be able to remove the really woody stems with no adverse appearance this year.....Again the viburnum is fast growing so if you make a mistake, it will be hidden in a year.

03-31-2008, 03:21 PM
the hollies had overgrown the street lamps by a few feet., the lamp on the left is higher the one of the right. Again we brought the tops down last year. and this summer we will begin pulling the sides in as they overhang the sidewalks and steps by a few feet. I took some internal pics so you can see one we opened up the top and allowed some light to enter that coupled with the pruning got us some new growth... i was ready to tear these out along with the juniper and start fresh, but cooler heads prevailed.

03-31-2008, 03:23 PM
final pic...

some osmanthus they we had to cut quick.... it took the pruning really well, only had one or two come back thin, but I think we'll be ok. again over 6 feet tall... but if you look we are getting lots of new growth. this is one year later. they were dome shaped

04-04-2008, 03:20 PM
thanks for taking the time to up load the pics for me.


04-05-2008, 10:05 PM
I have experience in exactly what Marc Smith is doing in DC. We call it here radical pruning. That might not be the correct name for it but our guys seem to understand it better. Some of you should try it, could become a big money maker. We did a HOA about two years ago 85units the place was all overgrown due to just shearing once a year. Five days of work for three men at 1600.00 a day. Great winter work.

04-06-2008, 03:54 PM
Recovery depends on the shrub type.

But I find that in some situations, pruning back in stages is not an option. And many shrubs can recover nicely.

I don't think a waiver is needed. A small note can be added to the contract which simply says that the pruning will be removing more that what is normally recommended or expected for typical optimal growth and recovery.

It might be comparable to scalping a lawn for one reason or another. Also, shrubs are generally not in the value and size range of trees.

It's nice when reduction can be done in stages - but that's not always the option. Nor always wise, especially if a need exists like being able to see traffic coming along a driveway, etc..