Question of the Week: December 8
Dear Neil: When can I prune my shrubs? Several have grown way too large.
That kind of pruning conceivably could have several good answers.
• Shrubs that are completely winter-hardy in your locale can be pruned now. It’s best to remove branches one at a time as you strive to retain a natural growth form with them. Avoid power tools that leave them looking like the barber feel asleep during the haircut.
• Plants that are known to be somewhat tender to your local winters ought to be saved a few weeks. In the off chance that they suffer freeze damage this year, you’ll want to be able to reshape them. Wait until late January or early February to prune them.
• Plants that are consistently too tall or too wide for their surroundings perhaps should be dug and relocated or removed entirely. Pruning will only buy you more time, at which point you’ll have it all to do over again. Eventually you’ll end up with a shrub that’s been dwarfed by all the repeated pruning – but it will have a huge trunk. Take it out and choose a plant that stays small in its place.