Pruning Shrubs into Shapes

By Renee Gerber , last updated April 7, 2011

If you grow shrubs in your garden or on your porch, you may want to prune them into shapes. Pruning promotes overall good health of your shrubs but also enables you to add your own personal touch in giving them distinctive shapes. With skill and practice, you can trim your shrubs in many different shapes.

Some gardeners see shaping their shrubs as not only healthy for the plant but for their own mental well-being. It is viewed as being therapeutic and can bring you peace of mind in addition to the aesthetic elements behind the activity.

Think about what kind of shape you want your shrub to undertake. Do you want a simple round shape, or are you a more unconventional type who enjoys the exotic? Whatever you decide on, you should have a good pair of sharp pruning shears. Other types of shears are pruning saws, lopping shears and secateurs, but only basic shears are really essential.

When pruning a shrub for a specific shape, you should work with plants that are very dense. Prior to the actual pruning, stand back and study the shrub for several minutes. Visualize what type of shape you want. Keep in mind that pruning is best performed in early spring, just prior to the emergence of new buds. Trim away any branches that you think will lead to achieving the shape you desire for your shrubs.

To assist you in getting a specific shape, you can use wire to hold parts of the shrub as you prune. For instance, if you want to create a cone shape for your shrub, a wire template that encircles the plant will help to determine the uniformity of the shape as you work. You would trim away any branches that extend beyond the cone shape you created. The usage of wire templates can extend into any shape you desire.

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