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Refresh your topiary shrubs at the end of summer

Topiary in the form of low spiraling hedges, properly refreshed

The end of summer is the best moment for light pruning of shrubs and ornamental plants.

The goal: make them stand proud until the following spring.

Plant sculptures, which are collectively called topiary, are ruined when young stems grow out of sync. Of course, over the summer, you’ll have already removed any that might have grown astray. At this point, the goal is to have a final check-up before winter to give your shapes a sharp, clean look. With your hedge trimmer, smoothen out the leafage. Remember to put a tarp under your topiaries so that you’ll be able to pick up snipped leaves and branches in one go.

Original topiary

Rosemary is well suited to shaping, and can become fragrant topiaries if you remember to prune them very regularly to keep them from making hardwood. You can also shape your winter honeysuckle as topiary, where their fine leafage grows into admirable cones and balls. Prune lavender into regular spheres by snipping off wilted flowers at their base.

Feel free to start on topiary creativity on larger plants, too, for example conifers that are too bulky can be thinned out when pruned into a spiral.

To prepare a spiral, mark it first with a string attached to branches from base to tip, wrapping carefully around the tree.

Follow the line, snipping into the leafage as deep as the leaf density permits with trimming shears or a hand pruner.

Remove the line, and then dig through the foliage outright along the snipped line. Take care to round off angles.

Your conifer tree will be transformed, and your garden will step up to a higher level!

Ornamental shrubs

To rejuvenate your ornamental shrubs, give them a harmonious shape and stimulate growth of new shoots, prune lightly with shears or a hand pruner.

On trees with mottled leafage, cut all stems and branches bearing straight green leaves back to their first branching point.

For shrubs with colored leaves, snip off the tip of twigs and branches.

M.-C. H.

End of summer is when to trim topiary lightly

Image credits (edits Gaspard Lorthiois):
Pixabay: James DeMers
CC BY 2.0: Smabs Sputzer, Peter Makeyev
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