Pruning vs. Shearing

I just finished my final grooming of the year for this espalier cotoneaster and a tea olive. With the cotoneaster, I make careful cuts with my trusty Felco bypass pruners. I removed the long, soft shoots where they branched off the main, trained branches.

I was careful to preserve the berries, anticipating the fine color display they will provide this winter. This took some time, and I call it technical pruning.

For the tea olive, I got ham-handed. I use some super sharp shears, and quickly shape this shrub back to a 5 foot “gum drop” from a 7 foot troll doll. It only took minutes, and I made crude, heading cuts that I would never have made on my cotoneaster.

Two shrubs with different growth habits; two entirely different approaches to maintenance.

Mike Rushing

Mike and Paula Rushing have been gardening in St. Clair county since 1990, and In Forest Park since 2007. A Jefferson County Master Gardener and course instructor at Master Gardening classes, Mike also volunteers weekly at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens.

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