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Pruning bushes and Hollies that have not been pruned regularly

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by chefcam864, Sep 12, 2013.

  1. chefcam864

    chefcam864 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 194

    I'm a full time student with a part time lawn care biz. (im legit: im insured, pay taxes, and have an applicator's license) I have run into this twice in the past month: customer wants a Holly pruned/shaped, but it hasn't been touched in 4 years. I'm not an expert on caring for bushes/trees, and turn a lot of the big stuff over to a friend who owns a tree company, but how can you shape a Holly that has been left to its own devices for four growing seasons? As soon as you start pruning the things, you start seeing massive holes in them. In the past, I've told the customer that I can hard prune in late winter, or just trim them way down into the basic shape they want (truncated cone) and let them grow in the next season.
    Is it possible to shape and make these things look nice in just one pruning? Any books or other resources on pruning you recommend? I would like to learn more, so I can take more of these good paying jobs,. I won't take a job unless of a good deal of confidence in my ability to deliver what my customer expects. I'd just rather not piss them off.
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  2. Sprinkler Buddy

    Sprinkler Buddy LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Florida
    Posts: 1,187

    Your not going to be able to get it perfect, it didn't get that way overnight and it'll be a process to get it the way they want it. If they don't understand that, just pass on it because you'll most certainly upset them with the initial results if they don't understand it will take some time to have it look the way they want it.
  3. chefcam864

    chefcam864 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 194

    That's pretty much what I tell them, and most understand and are usually delighted to have that massive bush taken down to a more manageable size. I had to leave a job looking pretty rough yesterday. I hated it. Out of 8 Hollies, only one was in good shape. The homeowner was happy, and I was happy to be done. I just wondered if there was Anymore to be done. i mean, those bushes look TERRIBLE by the time what needs to be removed is removed. One of the bushes was so overgrown onto the house I didn't see the copper Natural Gas line .you can guess what happened next... It was not fun. I had to pay the gas co. $90 to fix it. Lesson learned...
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  4. windflower

    windflower LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,080

    Since you cut the gas line I'll make a leap and assume you are using hedge clippers? Sounds like you are dealing with bushes rather than trees. I like to start with pruners to get the big stuff off before shearing. Makes the shearing easier and gives cleaner cuts.
  5. chefcam864

    chefcam864 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 194


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