Show #30/4104. Remembering Our Nation's History With Plants
Mother Nature Never Intended That Shrub To Be Square
Richard realizes the Hollies must be pruned fairly regularly to keep them nice and neat. This, of course, means they're high maintenance, providing frequent opportunities for pruning. Trish explains her pruning philosophy: The Youpon Hollies are native, they're very tough and resilient and they tolerate a great deal of pruning. When she first got here they had outgrown their space. Trish and crew had to cut them down to 5 or 6 inches with a heavy duty professional hedge pruner, at times a chain saw. In terms of maintenance now that they've grown back they maintain the shape with hand shears and they can cut them into any shape desired. The squared shape is one in which Mother Nature never intended a plant to grow. Occasionally problems occur because when one keeps cutting at the same point over and over it creates a thick amount of foliage at the ends with no light penetrating the plant. When pulling back the foliage there's a black hole in the middle, there is nothing there except sticks. That's a problem. Sometimes limbs or other problems will cause holes in the shrub. Trish shows how she addresses these issues. Take a loper and cut the large dead pieces away. The bypass loper would be used on pieces larger than a finger, maybe a broom stick. Same thing with the branches, cut the dead ones away. For the precision pruning, the small wood, use a hand pruner and prune away the dead material. This will open up the plant and expose the plant to as much light as possible. Once the plant is exposed and the dead wood removed use hand pruners to get inside and remove all other dead material. This will allow the plant to start rejuvenating itself. This shrub has previously been worked on and one can see a little bit of build back in the middle. Normally within a year to a year and one half it will come back. No one will be able to tell anything happened. Many might remove this plant, but by following this advice it will come back.
By Jolene Hansen, GardenTech
Photographs courtesy of GardenTech
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