Few garden arts are as transformative as pruning, in both the best and the worst sense of the word.
Sensitive pruning sculpts a plant within its environment, after a careful analysis of how it has grown and what shape it wants to have. Equally important is the plant’s role in your landscape. Is it a focal point? A useful screening element? Should it allow for the play of light, or block it? Some plants are bred to have showy bark or a delicate form that pruning can bring to the forefront.
Clumsy pruning by unskilled hands can mutilate a shrub or tree by forcing it into an unnatural shape that encourages weak growth. An added tragedy of poor pruning is that it is often irreversible, destroying a plant’s health forever.
Pruning can also rejuvenate mature plantings in truly amazing ways. Do you have a large shapeless old shrub that you’re thinking of ripping out? Have Leslie Bean of Dirty Girl Gardening take a look. With the right pruning, it could be reborn as a graceful centerpiece in your garden.