Cutting Down Too Much On Shrubs - Knowledgebase Question

Reading, MA
Question by jimmelanson
April 15, 2001
I recently finished my basement and put three windows in. The windows are approx. 4 ft. from ground level and crank out to the back yard where they come in contact with a 7ft. high row of shrubs. The shrubs have thick branches approx. 1 1/4 inches.

I need to cut them down to 4 give the windows clearance. I bought the Fiskars loppers and started to cut down some of the shrubs and noticed all I have left are branches with no budding apparent.

Will this kill the shrubs? Do you have any advise on how to proceed?

Thank you.

Answer from NGA
April 15, 2001


It is difficult to answer without knowing what kind of shrub it is. Some shrubs will regrow thicker and faster than before at the cut. Some others will not regrow at all and may be shocked to death.

In many cases shrubs can be cut to the ground in early spring and will regrow from the base. This would probably be the best approach since you will then be maintaining them at four feet. The shrubs grow back relatively fast due to the established root system.

If they are deciduous shrubs, this would probably work. If they are evergreens, the process is riskier, but since they have already been cut back to bare stems the damage will have already been done so it is worth a try.

Again, it does depend on what kind of bushes they are.

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