Ask a Question forum: Shrubs, To Remove Or To Fix ?

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dallas Texas (Zone 8a)
gotsqueeze
May 9, 2015 10:04 AM CST
These look like crap on the bottom. they're thin and not portioned. Can they fill back out on the bottom or would it be easier/better to remove and replace?

they are facing North & dont get very much light. Also they are spaced out irregular.

For the past few weeks ive been cutting the tops on them and they've gotten pretty full but im pretty sure its bc they're not getting any sun beyond the top "canopy" . Should i pull the top branches back thru to the bottom??

any suggestions on how to fix them without removing them??

thanks for the help!!

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Name: Celia
West Valley City, Utah (Zone 7a)
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Zencat
May 9, 2015 10:08 AM CST
As far as I know, they won't fill back in. I would underplant them with something with a little color. Then you won't have to start over.
Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
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Dutchlady1
May 9, 2015 10:24 AM CST
I agree
Name: Jason
Gold Bar, Washington (Zone 8b)
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riverman123
May 9, 2015 10:35 AM CST
you mentioned they don't get much light. perfect spot for under planting shade perenials!
Name: Debra
Garland, TX (NE Dallas suburb) (Zone 8a)
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lovemyhouse
May 9, 2015 11:05 AM CST
Suggestions: Patriot Hosta does well, here, as does Circus Heuchera. The Heuchera stayed green all winter. Photographs of mine:


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Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
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dyzzypyxxy
May 9, 2015 3:42 PM CST
Looks like somebody just went along the tops with a hedge trimmer to make them look tidy. Cutting the tops of shrubs again and again (such as to make a hedge all the same height) makes the lower branches die back and the top branches thick and full, eventually stunted. If you want a proper hedge with leaves all the way down, you need to prune with a tapering shape towards the top so the lower branches still get some light. So unless you're willing to carefully and selectively thin the tops, there's no hope of the bottoms filling in any time soon.

Underplanting sounds like the best choice to me too. Just don't plant expensive perennials like hosta too close to the shrubs. Remember they have fairly large, established root systems probably a foot or two away from the trunks/bases. So when you go to plant the new plants, dig a nice big hole, cut out any roots you see in there, amend really well because those shrubs are eating up all the goodies in that soil, and take really good care of those new shade plants to help them get established before the shrubs discover the new source of food and water! Large, well established plants will compete ok with the shrubs, but new plants will struggle without help.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Celia
West Valley City, Utah (Zone 7a)
Pour vivre parmi les fleurs
Irises Garden Photography I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Butterflies Birds
Cat Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters Hummingbirder Plant Identifier
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Zencat
May 9, 2015 7:20 PM CST
What Elaine said. Thumbs up
dallas Texas (Zone 8a)
gotsqueeze
Jun 9, 2015 9:41 PM CST
Thank you . I think I'm going to extend the bed out a little more to give the new plants more space. I think it will be too close if I don't..
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Name: Celia
West Valley City, Utah (Zone 7a)
Pour vivre parmi les fleurs
Irises Garden Photography I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Butterflies Birds
Cat Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters Hummingbirder Plant Identifier
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Zencat
Jun 9, 2015 9:59 PM CST
A very good idea. Have you decided what you want there?
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
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dyzzypyxxy
Jun 10, 2015 8:14 AM CST
Something like Coleus would give you a fast coverage, and they actually might compete pretty well with the roots of the hedge plants too.

The hedge is looking a little bit better. Did you thin the tops somewhat? Keep it up. The plants will branch gradually lower and lower if you keep thinning out the bushy, stunted branches up top.

(my hands are just itching to come and help you thin out that hedge, wish I lived closer to you)
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
dallas Texas (Zone 8a)
gotsqueeze
Jun 10, 2015 5:31 PM CST
Here is an updated pic prior to enlarging the flower bed

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Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
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ShadyGreenThumb
Jun 10, 2015 9:05 PM CST
Our house had hedges like this when we moved in. We trimmed up the front of the hedges to encourage it to grown and cover the base. It pretty much did but it took many months. They are holly bushes that also grew to 6 feet tall covering half our windows over time. This year I had had enough and took the chain saw to it. When the chain fell off, I used my regular hedge trimmer and loppers to hack off 2 feet of it. I knew the top would be naked and bare but I didn't care as long as the bushes were lowered. There is now new growth on the top! I don't know how low you need to go to get it to grow underneath and cover the bare branches. I like the idea of adding undergrowth to yours. I have a row of Katie's Ruellia below our South-facing headges. The hedges look lush along with it.
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