Abelias & Spireas, Cont...
Selective maintenance is low maintenance, having to be done
less frequently and maintaining the health and good looks of the
plant over the long haul. The only bad part is that the
people inside the offices never notice what a great job
you're doing. Everything just looks tidy and nice,
all the time.
GENERAL MAINTENANCE PRUNING requires that you make your cuts deep inside
the shrub, not out at the perimeter. This then is the great secret
to pruning for size reduction. One searches the shrub for the longest,
most unruly branch. Grabbing it with the left hand, the good pruner
it to some place well inside, hopefully where it joins a side branch
(for more information, order pruning topics-basic cuts) or to a bud. It
is cut off at that point with the right hand pruners, and tossed out to
Scan the perimeter once again. Avoid the temptation
to cut the next closest branch. Seek out the very worst branch that
sticks out too far. Cut it. The rule is: cut the worst,
first. Repeat these steps until you begin to run out of green.
Then quit, or perhaps quit a little before. Step outside of the shrub
mass and you will find the plants are miraculously shorter and tidier,
but natural looking. No matter when you do it, flower buds will
remain on the unpruned branches, assuring you of blooms.
I must admit that on some plants, those with very thin branches like
abelias and spireas, I don't always look too closely for a bud. I
figure there's a dormant bud just about anywhere I cut. Such a stem
will sprout out next year, but will take several years to reach the surface,
by which time it will calm down and arch out, looking nice.