The Q&A Archives: Trimming bushes

Question: How and what is the proper way to trim bushes, such as red flame, rodys and others.

Thank You,


Answer: Red flame I think must be Pieris, this is pruned the same way as rhododendrons. They need little pruning except to remove any broken or damaged branches. You can also tip back the occasional wayward branch by reaching to the interior of the plant to cut it. Cut just outside a branch joint. Their natural shape is graceful and roughly symmetrical, and heavy pruning will ruin their natural shape. If you need to control the size, it is best to prune out individual branches, again cutting them off deep inside the plant -- or consider replacing it with something that matures to the size you have room for, there are many smaller cultivars available. If you routinely shear the plant it will develop an outer shell of foliage with bare branches in the center and this is not healthy for the plant. These plants bloom on old wood, so light pruning or removal of a few branches can be done right after the shrub blooms. If you need to prune more heavily, do so in late winter. Pruning in fall or winter will remove flowering wood for the next spring. Never remove more than 25% of the plant in one year as this could shock it. I hope this answers your question.

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