Pruning vs Shearing

RMLM has a very talented and knowledgeable staff. We realize that there are many different techniques and approaches when it comes to pruning, and our staff is well versed in all of these. We send out our team of experts that is able to help you decide how to best prune your plant material so that we can achieve the look you want as well as maintain the health and longevity of your plants.

Many times we prefer to use the natural pruning method, which is also known as the selective hand pruning method.  Selective hand pruning or natural pruning methods have been recognized by many public gardens (Indianapolis Museum of Art, White River Gardens) as the most horticulturally sound method of pruning for the health and natural beauty of plant material.  Most landscape architects use plants for their natural shape and height rather than because they can be sheared into balls or boxes, and therefore many landscape architects specify hand pruning when creating landscape maintenance specifications for their designs. 

The natural pruning method has several advantages. Because the plant is thinned in this process, air circulation is increased, reducing susceptibility to disease.  When the canopy of the plant is thinned, sunlight can penetrate, stimulating new growth deep into the plant rather than only on the surface.  When there is new growth deep in the plant, the plant can be pruned down to that new growth, correcting or avoiding plants that have outgrown their space.  These advantages greatly contribute to prolonging the life and health of your plant material. 

We also perform pruning at specific times in the plant’s growth cycle. We make careful considerations about the type of plant and how pruning can affect the blooming and even the dormancy of the plant. Because of this, we may come to your property several times a year to provide hand pruning. We like to keep in mind that these plants are meant to be in your gardens for years to come, and we want to shape the new growth and the future of your plant.

Rocky Mountain does realize that some property owners prefer their plants to be sheared. We will happily perform these services for your plant material, but we like to be sure that you are informed of the risks that this can cause your plant’s health and longevity. Constant shearing cuts off sunlight from the interior of the plant, creating a dense outer surface which eventually cannot support the nutrient needs of the root system. We realize that the shearing method provides a much cleaner edge, and if that is what you prefer, we can work to provide that for you.

If you have any questions about this information, please feel free to give us a call or send us an e-mail! We’d love to provide you with any information you need to keep your trees and shrubs healthy and growing strong!