Trimming bushes way back?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by gogetter, Oct 26, 2001.

  1. gogetter

    gogetter Banned
    Messages: 3,256

    I asked this recently but I think it was lost when LS went out for a while.
    Anyway, I have a customer who asked me to trim her bushes back to the branches for the winter.
    Isn't it a bad idea to trim any bushes back that far, let alone right before winter?
    I haven't responded to her yet. Wanted some input first. Thanks!

    ERIC ROBERGE LawnSite Member
    Messages: 59

    I am not a professional landscaper so anyone correct me if I am wrong. From what I have read on the subject you need to wait until very early spring to cut back the bushes. Right before or at the time they become active again. This is because the plant will pull the nutrients from the leaves and stems down to the roots to get them through the winter.
    You also dont want to stress the plant during a time it can`t repair itself and recover. Cutting back a plant can also cause it to produce a lot of new growth which will not have time to harden itself against the harsh temps and winds of winter.
  3. sheppard

    sheppard LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 542

  4. UrbanEarth

    UrbanEarth LawnSite Member
    Messages: 142

    What kind of shrubs are they? Why does she want it done? (looks, thinks it's too big?)

  5. gogetter

    gogetter Banned
    Messages: 3,256

    Alan, I kinda embarrassed to say, but I don't know what kind they are. Still haven't found a good book to help me with that stuff yet (plant identification).

    As far as why, it's the overall size. When I trimmed them earlier this season, she showed me how far in she wanted me to go. I explained to her that this would leave the bush bare, no green left. Explained it would look pretty bad. So I took them back as far as I could before hitting bare branches.

    She just wants them smaller overall, but she's talking like 1/4 to a 1/3 off of there overall size. That's taking alot off. And this close to winter, are they going to come back in spring if I do this????

  6. Island Lawn

    Island Lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 632

    You're going to need to know what kind it is!

    Different strokes for different shrubs!

    Take a sprig to someone who might know. (extension agent, fert dealer, nursery, ect)

    Take a picture and post it here.
  7. Henry

    Henry LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 548

    How long have they been in this location? Maybe it's time to replace them. After more than 20 yrs most shrubs in a foundation planting will outgrow their space. Especially if they were not pruned properly from the start.

    Throw the suggestion at her, get her thinking, maybe you'll end up with a planting job.
  8. hustlers

    hustlers LawnSite Senior Member
    from MN
    Messages: 257

    any of you know whether
    to cut

    white hydrangeas is Spring or Fall???????????????????
  9. UrbanEarth

    UrbanEarth LawnSite Member
    Messages: 142

    Identification is really important! Even if you can find out whether they are deciduous or evergreen. Let us know.

  10. 1MajorTom

    1MajorTom Former Moderator
    Messages: 6,073


    I believe how harsh and the later you prune will result in less blooms the next season.
    Most hydrangeas bloom on old wood and if you prune too harshly, there are no buds for the next blooming season.
    Try trimming just 10 - 20% of the plant or just about a 'node'

    Also did you know you can change the color of a hydrangeas?

    Raising the level of acidity in the soil or neutrallizing the soil over the course of a few months will aid in changing the color.

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