Pruning and Shrub Shaping

The spring flowering shrubs and Yew shrubs are ready for a trim!  We began shaping and trimming last week and will continue working through all properties until complete….and then we’ll start all over again.  J  For the entire month of July, there is extra time added to all of our regular maintenance visits to accommodate the additional work.

The delayed spring weather, ample amounts of rain and periodic HOT days have caused nature to be slightly off kilter this year.  My general assessment right now is that the normal sequence/progression of spring (forsythia bloom!) and early summer (shrub roses in full bloom!) that spans the time from about April 15-June 1st was shifted and consolidated to May 9-June 20th.  In addition to the natural progression of spring was the great emergence of 2013—first tree leaves fully emerged on May 19th (about 3 weeks later than normal) and just 4 weeks later the shrubs are in need of trimming.  Normally, there is a 6 week or more time frame between first full leaf emergence and trimming/shaping.  Yikes!

Normally, we begin trimming shrubs the first week of June.  By the first week of June most spring flowering shrubs have nearly completed their flowering, not this year though, the delayed spring also delayed flowering on many shrubs.  Unfortunately—at the same time leaf/shoot growth was/is in full swing.  For example, while lilacs finished blooming the week of June 17th, they looked ridiculously ‘hairy’ at the same time!  …so, if we trimmed them we would also trim off all the flowers and now that we waited for the flowering to finish the shrubs look a bit shaggy.  Flowering is important…often the reason why a shrub is selected in the landscape is for it’s bloom.  Also important to consider is the insect activity that happens in conjunction with the flowering (evergreens included)—nectar and pollen are food sources for a variety of beneficial insects.  To cut off flowers early to keep a shrub from looking a bit shaggy has a big picture impact.  Keeping that in mind, we chose to delay trim shaping on most shrubs until flowering was completed, getting a start 3 weeks later than normal, listening/observing the cues from nature rather than just looking at a calendar.