When Shrub Pruning Goes Wrong
There's a common misconception that shrubs should be sheared into geometric shapes. Circles are the most popular shape as you can see from the photo above. There is often also an expectation that to ensure that you are getting the most bang for your buck with your landscaper, shrubs should be tightly pruned to show that they did their job. The row of Leucophyllum (Texas Ranger) shrubs is near a curb and have been sheared into balls. One reason may be because they are so close to the curb. But, it could also be from habit. These shrubs were probably added to be a hedge as a barrier to road traffic.
There's a Better Way
The best way to avoid this is to plant the right plant in the right place. When you do this, you avoid having to do much maintenance on your plants at all. They can be left fairly natural without being a hazard or encroaching on walkways, buildings or roads. But, if you already have plants that are big and need trimming, you can keep them manageable with a little hand pruning. A good pair of hand pruners and loppers are just about all that you'll need.
How to Prune Without Shearing
Pruning a shrub is similar to pruning a tree. Using your loppers or hand pruners find the branch that you want to remove and follow it down to where it meets another branch like a v-shape. Cut the branch at the intersection with the other branch. By doing this, you can reduce the size of the shrub without shearing it.
It takes some practice and time to get your shrub to the shape that you want it. But once you get it to a shape that you like, it will look more natural, be manageable and actually produce flowers. If you're looking for a shortcut, you can prune many shrubs including Oleanders and Texas Rangers down to about 12-inches from the ground in the early spring and they will regrow into a full, natural-looking shrub that doesn't require any trimming for the first year.
Now is a great time to get outside and prune your shrubs. If you need a little help, we can do it for you!