Many gardeners are afraid to prune their shrubs. Don’t be timid! Pruning is one of the most important tasks in keeping your plants healthy and happy. Just like humans, plants need a little “haircut” sometimes too! Of course, if you’re dealing with a small shrub feel free to prune the tree yourself, but pruning big trees, or any other tree surgery for that matter such as hedge trimming or tree removal, is fairly dangerous to do by yourself. I would recommend a professional in this case, such as Broadleaf, a local tree surgeon in the UK. Due to my plants only being small shrubs, I’ll continue doing the hard work myself!
Many plants grow with a dominant branch, supplying a flow of nutrients to smaller branches. Keeping this dominant branch trimmed regularly ensures all branches have sufficient access to vital sap. Otherwise, your plant will grow into one scraggly unkempt branch or one trailing vine, allowing it to be very vulnerable to getting tipped over or being snagged and broken off.
Many of our most popular herb plants, such as Germander, Lavender, Mojito Mint, Rosemary, Eucalyptus, and Pineapple Sage, need regular trimmings to ensure your plant grows to a healthy bushy plant. For bushy, non woody plants like Cilantro, Lovage and Parsley, you can just gather the leafy stems into a bunch and take a little off of the top all at once.
And don’t forget about those dormant shrubs in your yard! They need attention too! It’s not too late, but the best time to prune your shrubs is right before spring hits. Snip up to one third off the top of your shrub to encourage new growth. Keep in mind that the winter can be very hard on your shrubs, so if you find breakage points, like we did with one of our Silver Drop Eucalyptus trees, it’s best to trim below the break so that new growth can form. We didn’t catch this one early enough and it killed the majority of the plant, but we’re hoping if we cut it back to a few inches from the ground, it will regrow its beautiful branches.
As for the shears themselves– invest in a sharp pair to make clean, attractive, healthy cuts. Your neighbors probably don’t want to stare at gnarled branches all day. We recommend Our Favorite Felco pruning shears. They can cut through just about everything from thick, woody stems to wire, they’re durable and comfortable and besides, they call them our favorite for nothing!