Hedges - Knowledgebase Question

Cabool, Mi
Question by src_1999
November 6, 2009
We just purchased a home in Cabool, Mo.
And it has hedges that form a privacey fence (sort of). BUT they are over eight feet tall, and NO leaves down low. Can I safely cut then down to about 1- feet tall now, or should I wait?
Thanking you in advance,

Answer from NGA
November 6, 2009


Some hedging plants get leggy, no matter how much you trim so I don't think reducing the size is a guarantee that they will become bushy again. With these types of hedging plants the best solution is to plant smaller hedging type plants at the base to cover up the bare stems. On the other hand, some plants will fill out when pruned. Without knowing what plants you are growing, I'm hesitant to suggest pruning to make them fill out. However, it won't hurt to try. The general rule of thumb is to prune no more than one-third of a plant in any pruning session. If yours are 8 feet tall, pruning them down to one-foot could stress them enough to kill them. Try pruning back about 3' of the tops and see how your shrubs react. If they begin to develop foliage lower down on the plants, wait a year and prune them back by one third again. In 3 years you'll have a shorter, bushier hedge. Spring is the best time to prune shrubs. That's when they are ready to grow and replace the lost leaves and stems. Good luck with your hedge!

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