Overgrown evergreen shrubs - Knowledgebase Question

Quncy, Mi
Question by dmacklin
January 5, 2009
My daughter and her husband purchased a beautiful victorian home with pine needle evergreen shrubs that are nearly 4 feet tall. I have pruned them down about a foot a couple of years ago and try to keep them at that height so they are full, but I would really like to get them a couple of feet shorter. If I prune them that severly, will they do ok, or will I be sorry? Thank you for your help.

Answer from NGA
January 5, 2009


It is possible to prune too severely and end up with dead or terribly misshapen shrubs. Since you've already pruned them down by a third and are keeping them at that height, you may be able to gradually reduce their size even more by pruning twice a year instead of once a year. Pruning encourages new growth so a once-over with shears in the spring and again in mid-summer should allow you to slowly reduce the size of the plants while still keeping them full and dense. I'd avoid cutting them down more than a third in any one pruning session.

Best wishes with your project!

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