Plants love a good prune. So much so that hedges, bushes, trees and plants not only look better when receiving regular pruning and dead-heading, they also are healthier and happier.
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Here in Oklahoma there are a number of bushes that thrive with little care. Two of our favorites, Crepe Myrtles and Variegated Privets, can be pruned to keep them small or can be pruned to look like a tree. These hearty Oklahomans can get as tall as 20 to 30 feet. Both are quick growers and can provide desired privacy and long-lasting flowers.
Left unpruned, shrubs can become a mass of weak, dying and dead branches below the leafy surface. This woody jumble causes poor airflow and reduced light exposure which can become a breeding ground for disease causing organisms.
Shrubs and bushes should have woody, overcrowded interior stems thinned out. Remove those that are dead, unhealthy and those that are crisscrossing other stems.
To remove unwanted growth, remove a branch completely at the point of its origin (never mid-stem) or at a natural break (for instance where another branch shoots off in another direction).