Why You Need to Prune Your Shrubs

Why You Need to Prune Your Shrubs

Pruning is an ongoing and necessary practice.  Just like us, shrubs are living things that require check-ups and maintenance especially when they are exposed to the harsh elements outdoors.  So why do we need to prune? 

There are a few reasons to keep shrubs pruned, groomed and refreshed.  It is not as difficult or daunting a task as it may seem and can be done by the homeowner or a professional.  Though it may seem a scary idea to cut, trim and remove branches but this task is not difficult.  There is a lot of information online and from the professionals at your local garden centers who love to share and demonstrate pruning skills.  You can find instructional pruning videos here that are a great guide and free to watch.

To begin with, when pruning, seek out dead and damaged branches.  Not only do they look unsightly, damaged branches can attract and spread disease and/or insect problems.  Also these wounded branches can actually use up energy needed for growth, in a natural attempt to heal something that is going to die eventually.  Therefore, with a slowed growth rate the damaged shrub may not produce or grow as it would in a healthier state.  So start there.  Cut out the damage to allow proper healing to begin.  If there are insects or disease, bag samples and take to your local garden center for advice.

hand pruning shrubs

After the damaged branches have been removed you should look to see if there are branches that have grown into each other or crossed over and growing on top of each other.  Bark on branches serves to protect the inner workings just as skin is a barrier for us and if wounded by rubbing against other branches your plant could become susceptible to all sorts of infections and further damage.  Removing crossed, crooked and twisting branching systems is a good preventative measure.

Next look at how overgrown the plant may be.  For instance: are branches sprawled out over the edges of shrub beds?  Are the branches covering the lawn and killing the grass below and creating an obstacle for mowers?  Has the height gotten to be too much and is blocking your view or are branches growing into another shrub?  Eventually if a shrub gets too large, it may shade parts of itself and other plants nearby that require sunlight to grow.  Using hedge shears to round certain shrubs is a quick and easy method of shaping shrubs and maintaining height.

Pruning is an art and a science as they say. The science is removing dead and damaged branches and avoiding potentially damaging situations to maintain your shrubs health, as well as the health of other plants nearby. The art part is shaping your shrub to a reasonable and desired form while keeping them within their boundaries in the landscape. With sharp clean tools, and a desire, your shrubs will provide years of beauty and health with your help! 

home with manicured shrubs

Happy Gardening!

For more ideas ask your local garden center professionals and make sure you follow us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest for other help tips and hints.


Guest post by Darlene - Bylands Account Representative

I love being in nature and seeing the beauty and other benefits of plants. Gardening was a must as a kid raised on a farm and something I enjoyed from a young age. It was an easy choice to pursue studies in the horticultural and floral industry. The family farm is north of Lloydminster on the Saskatchewan side and yes I am a true Rider fan. I have lived in Edmonton the past 14 or so years. Working for Bylands has kept me busy and given me the added pleasure of meeting lots of great people over the past 7 years. Outside of work I enjoy travelling and spending time with family and friends and my dog Elli.