Video transcription

Hi, I'm Marci Degman, the aspiring gardener, and today, we're going to talk about pruning shrubs. The first thing I want to mention is that to have a natural looking shrub, you don't want to take everything down. You don't want to top the shrub like many people will top a tree, and it ends up not as healthy. This one is really a natural, very large shrub, so it's a good example. This is a wax leaf ligustrum, or you might know it as a Japanese privet. And, what I want to do first is, I want to go through and look at this shrub for anything that's dead, any twigs that are brown, and that's always something that you want to cut. So, if you see anything like that, cut that away first, and just go through and kind of take any dead wood away. But, what you want to do is, rather than just take everything down, you want to go in and select sections of these branches, maybe say in this area I've got several, and it's fairly full. So, I'm just going to go in and I'm going to take the whole branch down, rather than cut everything. The other reason I want to do that is because the leaves are very large, and really attractive. But, if you decide to cut the top, you're going to have this kind of thing, and that's not attractive, either. So, it takes a little bit longer, but I guess you could call it selective pruning. And, what you want to remember is that most flowering shrubs, or any kind of fruiting shrubs, they need to have sunlight get to all the parts of the shrub, and they need air circulation. So, by doing this, you're doing all those things. So, cut any of the spent flower heads off. I usually like to wait until the berries are done for the year, because this particular shrub has really nice white, fragrant flowers in the summer, and they're followed by these blue berries, which are starting to develop right now. So, normally, I probably would prune this maybe even in another month, when everything is done, but, this is an evergreen shrub, so I can do it any time I want. So, what you want to do is, you want to go along, and once you've cut away everything that kind of looks like it needs to go, then you want to stand back and take a look, and see if your shape is coming around. So, I'll cut this side, and then I'll go around to each side of the shrub and do some trimming, and then I'm going to stand back and take a look. And, as you can see, it's a little more open this time of year. Your evergreen shrubs like this are going to lose some of their leaves in the spring, so you may want to go back in a little bit then, too. But, fall is a really good time to do this, and it also allows foliage to develop on the lower portions of the shrub when you trim from the top, down. So, you're still trimming from the top, down like shearing, but you're not cutting everything, and you're not chopping your leaves in half. And, that's how you want to prune a shrub for a natural look.