Natural Pruning

Natural Pruning & Landscaping has established its reputation on superior pruning. We keep or restore the natural shape and thickness to your trees and shrubs. By following natural pruning principles, we make your plants look more beautiful after pruning and for the season after they are pruned .  There are no ugly stubs to look at while you are waiting for new growth. For those who like to do their own pruning, we also teach clients how to prune their own plants to maintain a natural look.  We give free estimates on the cost of pruning your plants or we can quote you an hourly rate. Small jobs are welcome. Call 360-606-5437  or email allen@naturalpruningnw.com for free estimates and consultations.

Is Shearing Really the Best Way to Prune?

The typical untrained home gardener and landscape maintenance technician has one approach to pruning – clipping. Power trimmers or hedge shears are used to shape or reduce the size of trees and shrubs. Using the shearing technique, the ends or tips of many branches are removed quickly, which apparently saves time and expense. However, there are several drawbacks to this practice.

  1. The outer layer of the plant has many stubs which are only covered when new growth occurs.
  2. Tip pruning in this way causes branches to develop several shoots where there was only one before (3 to 7 is typical).
  3. After 3 or more shearings, plants are artificially thick with 20 to 30 times as many branches as normal.
  4. All plants begin to look the same – either round balls or square boxes. Several plants growing close together become a hedge.
  5. Plants are typically sheared or shortened the same amount over their whole surface. Because growth is faster on the top, soon the lower and inner branches are shaded and lose their leaves.
  6.  Over-pruning stimulates plants to grow faster, which requires more frequent pruning.

Why Natural Pruning is Better

Natural pruning preserves the natural shape and density of plants. Each tree and shrub has its own natural growth shape. Why make them all look alike? With natural pruning, branches are pruned one at a time with hand pruners, loppers (with long handles – for larger branches), or a pruning saw. Pruning begins when plants are small, before they have outgrown their planting area and block windows or walkways. This may only require shortening one or two branches the first time.

  1.  Branches are cut inside or below the leaf surface where other smaller branches hide the stubs.
  2.  Instead of pruning branch tips, they are cut back to a side branch or removed entirely, keeping the same density of plant growth.
  3.  Lower shrub branches are shortened less (or not at all) than upper branches, which keeps the shrub full and leafy clear to the ground.
  4.  Because many fewer branches are cut (especially after several prunings) the difference in pruning time becomes negligible (or sometimes even less over time).
  5. The natural shape is retained because branches are deliberately cut at different lengths.

Can My Over-sheared Plants Be Restored to a Natural Shape?

Yes, over-sheared plants can be restored to a more natural condition, although it may take 2 or more prunings to do so. Typically, one third or more of the branches are removed deep inside the plant, sometimes clear to their source. Pruning cuts on some of the remaining branches are made at different lengths, hiding the stubs inside the outer leaves. As the plant regrows after 2 or 3 prunings, it returns to its natural shape. Call 360-606-5437 or email allen@naturalpruningnw.com for free estimates and consultations.