The Q&A Archives: Helping Over-Trimmed Hedges

Question: I trimmed my hedges last fall and have noticed they are not returning to their former glory. The hedges had become overgrown and I think I may have over-trimmed them. Is there anything I can do to encourage a return to former green glory? The bushes are now brown with no green growth.

Answer: Unfortunately, with some evergreen shrubs, if you prune back to old wood, no new growth will appear because there are no latent buds on the old wood. If there is any new growth at all on your shrubs, it means the roots are alive and over the years the plants may grow enough to cover over the pruning cuts. If there is no new growth at all, the renovation cuts were too dramatic and your shrubs did not survive the pruning session. For future reference, its best to prune less than one-third of the live growth when pruning hedges. This will always provide some old wood, on which new growth can develop.

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