POLL: Do you prefer your shrubs to grow natural or tamed?

bcb77(7b)March 27, 2007

Just wondering what most people here prefer.

I guess this question could depend on the type of plant.

Overall I like mine to be pruned slightly so they don't look overgrown and unkempt, but not so severly pruned that they are formal and pretensious looking.

What do you like?

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I really depends on what type. The two most commons shrubs here, azaleas and camellias, look best when left alone. I hate it when people butcher a camellia to look like a lollipop. I do sometimes cut my azaleas back pretty hard, and then leave them alone for a couple more years. I find that looks better then trimming them every year.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2007 at 2:35PM
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i am not one of those people who like to crop or shear plants smoothly. selectively pruned canes and branches for some shrubs and small trees looks best to me. even camellias can sometimes benefit from this treatment. i just purchased two new ones that were b&b, about 3' tall, and there were some small, interior branches that needed to come out. they also need some sense of direction near the tops so some of the upper branches got taken back a bit. they look much better now (imo) and can receive light on the interior portions of the shrubs.
i guess it's a personal thing but i like to see the "bones" of well-structured shrubs/trees that are not allowed to grow into a congested form.
a formal hedge has its place in a formal garden but that is not what i am attempting at home.
so, yes, i like to tame them but leave a feeling of natural, too. :-)

    Bookmark   March 27, 2007 at 3:15PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

bcb, 'tamed' is a good word! Probably all shrubs in the landscape require some taming in the form of the kind of selective pruning that jeff is alluding to. Selective, detail pruning results in shrubs that don't look 'pruned'; they simply look 'better'.

I absolutely love to prune, and consider it an art form. Shears and hedgers are not something I never use. Of course, it helps if you are dealing with plant material that is suited to the site, of course. There's no way to 'carefully' cut back a shrub that wants to be 25 feet tall, so that it will fit under the living room windows, lol.

Selective pruning can also help keep shrubs 'shrubby' all the way to the ground, and will avoid that brushcut look. Knowing how to correctly prune enables you to keep taller shrubs to a certain height, without having to shear them.

My neighbor is compulsive about pruning. Her plants (and some of them are terrific plants) are butchered out of all recognition. Robert and I literally cringe as we peer through the shades at her most recent pruning event.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2007 at 3:55PM
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Selective pruning! Don't like

Here is a link that might be useful: Meatball shrubs

    Bookmark   March 27, 2007 at 5:41PM
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Natural. Most people don't know how to properly prune or shape.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2007 at 12:52AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Boy, did I allow a typo to get into my earlier post! "Shears and hedgers are not something I never use." Yikes! Please remove one of those double negatives for my REAL sentiment. I don't even HAVE any shears or hedgers.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2007 at 8:05AM
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Natural for sure, although I am really bad about crowding shrubs too closely together, because I want to grow as many things as possible... and that leads me to have to do some selective pruning.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2007 at 1:41PM
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