03 May 2008

Ways to Shape Your Plants

You may have pinched the top growth off of coleus and other ornamental plants to keep them full. We also commonly cut the bottom leaf growth off of tomato plants to bury them several inches into the ground at planting time.

What else do you pinch, prune, trim, coerce into more appealing shapes? Espaliered pear and apple trees are beautiful in the right setting. Thomas Jefferson had his fruit trees trained on wires as a space saving measure.

On a garden tour last weekend I saw Rose of Sharon shrubs being trained into lollipops. How clever to use plants that are easy to grow here and will adapt to pruning and shaping.
The homeowners cut back all but five branches and then put tree wrap around the trunks to block the sun from encouraging growth. The shrubs are between the house and the sidewalk so it is practical to control them.

When they bloom from June to August the flowers will be at eye level as you walk on the sidewalk. If they were not pruned, the shrubs would prevent the placement of the art objects and other ground level planting.

Do you prune to suit the placement of the plant? What kinds of plants?

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