Our two dogwoods grew amazingly in 5 years! Sara-Evelyn said from now on we’d need to be doing substantial pruning every year. Sara-Evelyn came to our garden in March to trim our little redbud. We were happy to watch its spring beauty. Time passed and things seemed to be going well, but a day before her second visit to us arrived, one branch broke off because of heavy winds. Sara-Evelyn took time to talk about the Redbud and give it a little extra trimming.
After chatting about the redbud we turned to our two dogwoods. She made the point that these dogwoods grow a lot every year. As she worked she explained that to bring these two shrubs back to a better size she would cut out about 2/3rds (or so) of the smaller branches, and then, approximately 1/3rd of the larger branches. “This will ensure that the shrub stays about the same size going forward, while allowing younger branches to to gradually take the place of the older”, she said.
Henry and I were both working to take away the cut branches. These are Big branches! I had expected t hat we could prune the red twig and yellow twig dogwood in the spring and I was disappointed that I had to wait until official summer. Sara-Evelyn said it was important to wait. She explained that these shrubs are full of energy in the early spring. “If the shrubs are trimmed early with spring energy they will grow big and rapidly. However, if we wait until official summer, they will yawn and not be as energetic.”
Sara-Evelyn also gave us information about the kind of other cuts that can be made. “Watersprouts are the straight up shoots that should be cut off. ‘Lifting cuts’, means cutting back a branch to where there’s something healthy growing up and out. This ‘lifts’ the branch causing it to droop less. ‘Limbing up’ means cutting the lowest branches on the trunk. This will give room for a long view, or to give room for other shrubs. Many trees/shrubs need a ‘central leader’. Where there is a V dividing that energy, one side of the V needs to be cut off.”
I could not resist asking Sara-Evelyn about our river birches. I have been wanted to limb them up, but wasn’t sure that was a good idea. Happily for me Sara-Evelyn said it would be fine to take them up a little higher. I was very glad to have her approval. I want a little more sun in that garden.
A garden is always changing. Plants die. Rabbits find snacks in the garden. New ideas come along. Our friends give us ideas, and sometimes they introduce us to people like Sara-Evelyn.