pruning and shaping tips

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by grassmasterswilson, Nov 21, 2012.

  1. grassmasterswilson

    grassmasterswilson LawnSite Platinum Member
    from nc
    Messages: 4,988

    I know most pruning is done free hand and by sight, but anyone got any good tips for pruing and shaping shrubs, hedges, ets?

    We do mostly round, squared off hedges, and "christmas tree" looks.
  2. jackal

    jackal LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 488

    They should be wider at the bottom than the top so the lower branches catch some sun.

    I like them off the ground a couple inches so I can get the debris out from underneath the bush.

    They should not touch the house.

    Keep them small unless you are trying to hide something.

    Fertilize them only until they reach the desired size.

    Trim them as infrequently as possible. Trimming stimulates growth.
  3. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    We have hedges mostly in the Cedar Family, with a few Yews both of which we do after the new growth is completed, but before it is hardened off... I like the long shaft of the moveable head on the echo trimmer to get the straight edge of the hedges as opposed to the shorter unit, becuz I can make a more uniform cut... the same with the top...
    Small rounded or various shaped individuals I start with the smaller power blades and finish it off with a sharp hedge shears to clean it up if necessary... as long as you approach it slowly, it can easily be mastered if you have an 'eye for it'... like cutting hair...
    All of the deciduous are done in Fall or Spring during dormancy and the reason there is,,, to cut the skeleton while visualizing the areas of growth that may occur once it fleshes out...
  4. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,335

    Replace them with plants that require little or no pruning.
  5. gunsnroses

    gunsnroses LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 266

    Depending on the landscape you are dealing with, but I am guessing these are landscapes designed by an architect. Try to visualize the intent. A large mass planting may not be intended to be pruned like a pan of freshly baked dinner rolls, but rather connected as one. I think you get where I am going with this. Think about the surface area created by many round ball shapes as to one large "plant or plants". You are creating more work by doing so. If you change the plan from doing so, you may need to explain to the owner as they may not understand your vision.
  6. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    With all due respect toward those with rambling brushy effect of natural plantings,,, find out what the client prefers and keep it looking perfect to him/her... :)
  7. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    When doing flat shrubs on top, I try to find a line on the siding or brick course on a house and use that as my level guide.

  8. Landscape Poet

    Landscape Poet LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,638

    Help limit the spread of disease by carrying a small spray bottle of isopropyl alcohol to clean your tool of choice inbetween plants especially if a know disease is present on any shrub or bush.

    Kiril kind of hit in the right direction as well, having the right plant in the right place , with the right intention does a long way in helping you do your job.
  9. TX Easymoney

    TX Easymoney LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,109

    You'll make a lot more money as well, removal install and warranty....why make money pruning year after year?make it all at once.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  10. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,335

    My job isn't to make the lawnboy money, but to save the client money by recommending intelligent, sustainable, low input solutions. That means using plants that are not only regionally appropriate, but are also appropriate for the location they will be used in. Appropriate for the location means choosing a plant that will fill the intended area when the plant is mature without the need for continual maintenance or formal pruning.

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