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Renewal Pruning

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January 24, 2021
Renewal pruning is radical and not for the faint of heart, but it’s an effective method to salvage an overgrown shrub when compared to removing and replacing the plant. Sometimes a landscape shrub overgrows its location. Renewal pruning is an option to help rejuvenate a severely overgrown bush. The optimal time of year of renovate a shrub is before new growth starts in the spring. So, for Mississippi I recommend such severe pruning be performed in the January and February time frame. The pruning tools will vary depending on the diameter of the branches and limbs. While a small hand clipper could easily cut back branches up to 3/4 inch, larger branches, up to 1 ¾ inches will require loppers. Pruning saws with their razor-sharp teeth work well on larger branches and for the main trunks. Let me demonstrate on this overgrown holly, which is very tolerant of severe renovation pruning. Ultimately, I’m going to radically prune this holly back to about 24 inches and when finished it might remind you of a short coat rack. Don’t worry about the fresh cuts. Research clearly shows that leaving them open to heal is the best method for a speedy recovery and flush of new spring growth. This pruning job may look extreme and severe, but trust me, this holly will regrow into a more size-appropriate specimen for your landscape. I’m horticulturist Gary Bachman and I’ll see you next time on Southern Gardening.


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