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Winter Cutbacks Enhance Spring Growth!

Winter Cutbacks Enhance Spring Growth!

Wed, Jan 17, 2018 at 9:45AM

It may be the dead of winter, but now is exactly the right time to be preparing your landscape to look its best this spring.  Proper spring landscape planning includes more than spring fertilization and irrigation tune-up.  It should include a winter landscape inspection to identify shrubs that will benefit from “Rejuvenation Pruning” (also called “Hard Pruning” or “Winter Cutbacks” by some).

Whatever you call the technique, there are many shrubs that will outgrow their space and encroach on other plants, walkways and buildings.  Over time, many shrubs become ‘leggy’, as evidenced by the Viburnum in the inset picture.

In this case, the shrubs have become oversized and unsightly and they no longer fulfill their intended purpose of screening mechanical equipment.  Rather than replace the shrubs, however, a proper winter pruning is all that was needed to restore both form and function.

While rejuvenation pruning is the most severe method of pruning, when done properly in late winter while the plants are fully dormant, it will prepare the shrubs for a healthy spring flush.  It involves detailed “heading back” cuts to the basic limb framework, as you’ll see here.

Rejuvenation pruning is particularly useful for multi-stem plants, which can be cut all the way back to their basic structure. By cutting off so much wood and top growth, the established root system will be able to infuse its full energy into a vigorous spring flush.

By applying a slow release fertilizer and sustaining the optimum soil moisture, the ultimate effect can be quite remarkable; the regrowth of dense, lush foliage is fully expanded by summertime.  Beautiful, thick foliage can be achieved faster and more fully than if these established plants were replaced with new ones.

Rejuvenation pruning can be successfully used on many shrub varieties that are common in our Midwest landscapes, including: 

  • Burning Bush Euonmyus
  • Butterfly Bush
  • Forsythia
  • Honeysuckle
  • Hydrangea
  • Japonica
  • Ninebark
  • Privet
  • Spirea
  • Weigela
  • …to name a few!

The keys to success are identifying the right varieties of plants that are otherwise healthy, choosing the proper timing and utilizing the correct pruning techniques using sharp and clean tools.  Your Signature Landscape professional knows how to approach this assessment to produce beautiful results in the spring and maximize the results from your landscape investment.

  • After
  • Before
  • Dormant Prune

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Beds | Curb Appeal | Fall | Fertilizer | Flowers | Grass | Mulch | News | Pruning | Spring | summer | Turf | weeds | Winter |
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