Late Summer Shaping of Shrubs

This loropetalum are like many evergreens in late summer. Shoot grown and has an unkept look.

This loropetalum is like many evergreens in late summer: shoots grown long causing an unkempt look.

A shallow cut like this is not advised

A shallow cut like this is not advised.

Trace the long shoot back to its point of orgin and cut the stem deep into the plant

Trace the long shoot back to its point of orgin and cut the stem deep into the plant.

The finished plant after summer removal of long shoots.

The finished plant after summer removal of long shoots

Prune your shrubs now, don’t shear them now. Those long shoots on hollies, loropetalum, osmanthus, cleyera, azaleas, and many other evergreens need to be carefully removed with hand pruners or loppers this times of the year. Now this is not what you get generally if you hire your grass cutting company to do it. If the plants are tall and over your head, you oftentimes can look in the center of the plant and find those tall shoots and remove them at their source without having to get on a ladder. What you want to accomplish this time of the year is to not severly cut back the shrub, but rather remove long shoots that destroy the look of the plants. Each year I do this to the loropetalum on each side of my porch. By doing it before it gets cold, oftentimes new growth, not new shoots, will fill in a hole in the plants. For those of you that have sheared your plants for years, going deep into the plants and removing those long shoots is much better than shearing this time of the year, even if it is a formal hedge. This way you reduce the work, remove unwanted shoots, and don’t cut the leaves but only the stems.

John Floyd

John Floyd has been gardening--and learning about Birmingham area gardening--for more than 30 years. In addition to his day-to-day experience, John has degrees in horticulture from Auburn and Clemson Universities and was Editor-in-Chief of Southern Living.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *