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Hyacinth Plant

Q.How to Cut Back Huge Bushes

taiuto added on July 12, 2011 | Answered

We have moved into my husband’s grandparent’s home. When they lived here, they were unable to keep up with yard work. There are bushes around the front of the home that have been here for about 60 years. These bushes are up past most of the home’s windows. We have “trimmed” them but there is so much dead brush and branches under the top layer of green and the are WAY too tall for our liking. I want to take them out but my husband wants to see what else could be done first. Any one have any ideas?

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Answered on July 15, 2011

You do not mention what kind of shrubs they are but if you are attached to them due to sentimentality or they are rare, you are facing a multi-faceted job. First, all dead branches and or limbs must be removed. Then branches that cross each other or that are too full must be removed. These need to be cut where the branch joins the main part or major branch of the shrub. Try to cut these almost flush to the main branch that you are removing it from. Then height can be addressed. They cannot or should not be just hacked off at the height you want to be unless they are very hardy and you want to deal with ugly. There needs to be enough leaves left to support the plants. An option may be to make these into "standards" and I have done that with inherited shrubs that are large and difficult to dig. To do that, you do all of the above except hacking height. Trim all growth up to the point where you want the "tree" to flourish. This is an ongoing process each year and you only want one stem so it could be a huge job. I think your final decision rests in how much work you want to do. One time digging or maintenance now and in the future. Hope that helps.

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