Could rejuvenation pruning benefit your landscape?

Could rejuvenation pruning benefit your landscape?

By Misty Gil, Posted in Feature Stories
December 05, 2024

Rejuvenation pruning is a horticultural technique that can breathe new life into overgrown, tired, or neglected shrubs and trees. This method involves strategic and often drastic pruning to stimulate fresh, vigorous growth, restore plant health, and revitalize the overall appearance of the landscape.

The primary goal of rejuvenation pruning is to remove old, unproductive wood and encourage the development of young, vigorous shoots. This process is particularly beneficial for shrubs and certain tree species that tend to become leggy, lose their natural shape, or exhibit a decline in flowering and foliage density over time.

Key principles of rejuvenation pruning include:

Timing: The best time to undertake rejuvenation pruning depends on the specific plant species, but it is typically done during the dormant season, either late winter or early spring. This timing minimizes stress on the plant and allows for unhindered regrowth when the growing season begins.

Selective Removal: Rejuvenation pruning involves selectively removing a significant portion of the older wood, including dead or diseased branches, to stimulate new growth from the base of the plant. This selective approach prevents the shock that can occur with more aggressive pruning.

Balance and Shape: While rejuvenation pruning can be transformative, it is crucial to maintain a balanced and aesthetically pleasing shape. Careful consideration is given to preserving the plant's natural form while promoting a healthier and more vigorous structure.

Watering and Fertilization: Following rejuvenation pruning, proper care in terms of watering and fertilization is essential to support the regrowth of the pruned plant. Adequate nutrients and moisture contribute to the development of strong, vibrant shoots.

Patience: Rejuvenation pruning requires patience, as the full results may take some time to manifest. However, the long-term benefits include increased flowering, improved foliage density, and an overall rejuvenated and more resilient plant.

Common candidates for rejuvenation pruning include shrubs like lilacs, forsythias, spireas, and certain deciduous trees. While this technique may seem drastic, when executed with expertise and consideration, it becomes a transformative process that breathes new life into aging or neglected plants, ensuring they thrive and contribute to a vibrant and healthy landscape.