Give Your Shrubs a Good Haircut

The art and science of pruning, says an expert gardener, is just a matter of giving plants a day at the spa. Here are five tips to save your shrubs.

| April 8, 2011

  • Pruning a shrub is like giving it a good haircut.
    Pruning a shrub is like giving it a good haircut. Snyder

  • Pruning a shrub is like giving it a good haircut.

There is nothing worse than a bad haircut.

The one thing you can’t do with a bad haircut is uncut it, so you just have to wait for it to grow out before you can fix it. That’s how expert gardener Carol Chernega views the art and science of pruning a shrub. If you trim it the wrong way, you’re only compounding your problems, but learning the right way is not nearly as difficult as going to cosmetology school.

 “Instead of giving your shrubs a bad haircut, it’s actually very simple to give them a day at the spa, instead,” says Chernega, producer and star of the DVD Pruning Shrubs with Your Personal Gardener. Her tips on pruning might not only change your style, but help transform your garden and landscaping, as well.

 “For me, it would be a perfect world if pruning shears came with instructions,” Chernega says. “Just because one has a pair of scissors, it does not necessarily follow that you know how to give a good haircut. And just because you have a pair of hedge trimmers does not mean you know how to prune a shrub. Now, that’s not to say it takes a PhD in horticulture to know how to prune. The basics are actually very easy to learn, and applying some basic tips can really help you improve the look and health of your garden 100 percent.”

Chernega’s tips for basic pruning include:

● Know What You’re Pruning – Before you make your first cut, look carefully at your garden and identify what you’re going to be pruning. Use the Internet to identify them if you don’t already know. You want to learn how the shrub should look so you can prune it to maintain that natural shape.

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