Spring means cut, cut, cut

enlarge this image

The right cut in spring makes for a glorious summer. This holly hedge is one example, shown here one May and 3 months later during a rejuvenation process. 

Step One in our spring routine is cutting down.

Broad and important

The scope of this step is broad, ranging across all our perennial plants:

• Trees, shrubs and sub-shrubs (lavender, etc.), for size control or rejuvenation

• Herbaceous plants (hardy non-woodies: grasses, peony, etc.) to remove dead stalks.

The step's also very important because it includes taking a critical look at each plant's condition and any indications of insects or diseases.

Worth covering every year

So we have written about this task every year for many years. Each time we've covered the main points (as in last year's Spring rush checklist, how to accomplish it all even when you or the season are short on time) but we've varied the plants, how-to examples and what-next situations. We know you're practical, visual learners like us, so we're always watching for more real situations and the photos to tell those stories.

Now that we are able to put all our work here in one place with links between articles, we can use a link to that spring routine to cover the main points each year and start gathering all the plant examples on another, unlimited page. This is one of those things we can do on a website that we couldn't do in hard copy -- publish a book that has more pages every time you open it, and each time with an expanded quick-link Table of Contents.

Demonstrating spring cut-cut-cut on these plants:

Barberry (Berberis thunbergii)
Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens)
Butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii)
Grasses, ornamental clump forming species (Miscanthus, Pennisetum, etc.)
Holly (evergreen Ilex x meserveae); normal cuts, rejuvenation and when it's had leaves killed by cold
Hydrangea, H. paniculata types such as 'PeeGee' and 'Limelight'
Roses with extensive dieback; 'Knockout' and shrub/groundcover types
Sage (evergreen cooking sage, Salvia officinalis)
Suckers from the base or roots of a tree
Yew (Taxus x media)

Each spring you'll find we've added more examples to this list. Even now as we assemble this list of new articles, many others are already on this site but not yet linked. You can find them right now: In the Search field, type (the plant name) spring cut back.