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Unshearing Sheared Evergreens

Tired of constant pruning or need a change from those green gumdrops, hockey pucks and meatballs?  With a bit of time and patience you can convert these back to their natural beauty.

Start the unshearing process in late winter or early spring.  You’ll need a good pair of bypass pruners, loppers and a pruning saw.  And don’t forget the gloves and safety glasses for your protection.

Use renewal pruning to convert multi-stemmed shrubs like forsythia and red twig dogwood back to their natural habit.  Remove a few of the biggest oldest stems to ground level.  Repeat each year.

Multi branched plants are a bit trickier.  Remove a few of the thickest clumps of twiggy growth throughout the sheared plant.  Or remove several of the finer smaller twigs from the twiggy masses.  Or use a combination.  Make cuts back to the main stem.  Repeat yearly until the plant regains its natural appearance.

A bit more information:  Some shrubs tolerate shearing better than others.  When shearing a hedge of planting, keep the base of the plant wider than the top.  This allows light to reach all parts of the plant, preventing naked ankle syndrome; shrubs with no leaves at the bottom and all the greenery at the top of the planting.

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