Caring for Neglected Shrubs and Woody Vines

Mar 3, 2017

As a beautiful weekend approaches the state of Iowa, many are looking forward to getting a head start on their spring yard work. If you’re looking to start pruning your shrubs soon, Assistant Director of Reiman Gardens Aaron Steil has some recommendations.

“Strategically remove older branches on these plants. With the goal of never taking out more than a third of the plant. Go in and find the oldest, largest stems, and remove them at the base. That typically retains a nice, natural structure in the plant. This typically makes the plant smaller and will promote a lot of fresh new growth at the base of the plant; we call this rejuvenation pruning.

“If it’s a shrub that’s been really neglected or is severely overgrown, you may decide to do what we call renovation pruning. This is [taking] the whole shrub all the way down to the ground, when you do this you may sacrifice flowering for a couple of years, especially on plants like lilac. But, you will be rewarded with a much fresher growth that will eventually have much better shape, and you can keep up with it.”

On today’s Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe is joined by Steil and Iowa State University Extension Horticulture Specialist Richard Jauron. They discuss pruning shrubs and woody vines, as well as answer listener questions.