January is the month for resolutions and reinventions, a time many people dedicate to self-improvements and enhancements. Well that January rejuvenation isn’t only for yourself – it can extend to the landscape as well! The plants in your garden need to be rid of overgrown, damaged, older branches in order to increase vitality and make room for new, vigorous growth. Just like New Year commitments of betterment, the first several weeks of the year are perfect for rejuvenation pruning of overgrown plants and shrubs. Unlike most New Year’s resolutions, however, you can actually see the results mid-year.
Rejuvenation pruning is the removal of diseased, damaged, overgrown branches in order to make room for new, rigorous growth. It can range from hard pruning (cutting branches 6-18” from the ground) to gradual pruning (selectively removing oldest limbs over a 3-year period). Rejuvenation pruning can also be a “right-sizing” of plants that have gotten to be too big for their space or are encroaching on pedestrian sidewalks or parking lots. This type of pruning is essential for the proper maintenance of both residential and commercial landscapes. Most of the time in residential gardens, rejuvenation pruning helps to resize plants that have gotten too big for their space either growing in towards the house or choking out the HVAC unit. January rejuvenation pruning promotes both plant health and also it’s functionality in the landscape.
Not all plants can or should undergo rejuvenation pruning. It is best reserved for multi-stemmed, twiggy shrubs such as spirea, butterfly bush, shrub-form dogwood, viburnum, roses, weigela, lilac, some hydrangeas, privet and honeysuckle. Never hard prune narrow leafed evergreens such as juniper, single stemmed trees/shrubs and never, ever hard prune crape myrtles. It is a decision that will be regretted for the rest of the plant’s life – more on this subject later this month. Please note, that depending on the plant and