Trees, bushes, and other plants add beauty to the exterior of your business. They also help the environment and can add to the value of a property. There are many varieties of shrubs that can be planted and perform all these tasks well. Like any other plant, shrubs need regular care. You want to maximize the lifespan of shrubs and keep them healthy and beautiful. Making sure they get plenty of water and sunshine is a given, and you may want to use fertilizer in the spring. One of the most important ways to increase shrub lifespan is to prune them. There is more to pruning than just lopping off branches. It must be done properly.

Pruning vs. Shearing

Pruning and shearing may seem synonymous, but they are actually two different things and each has a different impact on shrub lifespan. Shearing is done primarily for aesthetic purposes and involves cutting branches from around the outside of a shrub to shape it in a desired form. Pruning is the careful selection of branches to trim for the purpose of the health of the shrub.

Effects of Shearing on the Lifespan of Shrubs

Although shearing allows you to shape your shrubs for an aesthetically pleasing shape, it can shorten their lifespan. Shearing the outer layer of a shrub encourages those twiggy branches to grow faster. The outer layer has fewer leaves and it shades the inner, leafy layer from the sun. This makes it much harder for the shrub to perform photosynthesis and nourish itself.

The shielded inner layer is also an attractive place for insects and other garden pests to nest. This can lead to diseases that will shorten shrub lifespan.  Without sufficient sunlight, the interior section is also much more likely to die in the case of a frost.

Regular shearing also has a negative environmental impact as electric or gas-powered shearing tools use more fuel when used more frequently.

Effects of Pruning on Shrub Lifespan

Seasonal pruning is beneficial to shrub health. When pruning, you are selective in which branches are trimmed. Branches are cut to maintain a consistent size and natural shape of the shrub. This encourages growth and keeps the leafy branches out in the sun where they can make the food to keep the shrub healthy. Pruning rejuvenates and increases the lifespan of shrubs.

Pruning is more effective at controlling the size of a shrub. You don’t want plants sitting beneath windows or near doors to get too big. It is much easier to dictate the size of your shrub through seasonal pruning than by shearing.

When a shrub is properly pruned, the interior portion will get the sunlight and fresh air it needs to discourage pests and to fight diseases or other problems. The growth pattern will remain natural and this contributes to a longer shrub lifespan.

Use the Proper Tools

There are several types of tools designed to prune branches of different sizes. It is important to use the proper tool for the branch to avoid damaging the shrub.

  • Saws – Saws are only used for the largest branches, generally those over 2 inches in diameter.
  • Loppers – For branches between 1/2 and 2 inches in diameter, you should use loppers. This is a two-handed tool that has the strength to cut branches of this size.
  • Pruning Shears – Pruning shears can be operated with one hand and resemble a large pair of scissors. They are the best tool for branches under 1/2 inch in diameter.

Seasonal pruning is better than shearing for increasing the lifespan of shrubs. For professional maintenance, contact Grounds Control USA. We will keep your shrubs healthy, beautiful, and long-lasting.