Yuletide Trimming

evergreen pruning

As we all prepare for the holiday season, why not take to your own back yard to generate some of your own holiday greens? For centuries, the evergreen has remained a powerful symbol of life, especially in the shorter, less productive days of winter. While pruning is essential to the health of the plant, unfortunately, the tradition of pruning in this country actually does more harm than good!

Indiscriminant trimming of evergreen shrubs at the wrong time of the year by way of an electric shear or lopper is a guarantee of more maintenance in the long run.

Pruning by electric shear was adopted by a fast-paced American culture that wanted the manicured look of European and Asian inspired gardens without the time and effort it takes to achieve such results. The genus Taxus, or Yew, is one of the most popular victims (and most resilient) to fall prey to this management practice. What appears to work for one type of plant does not work for all plants. When shrubs and trees are pruned without respecting the plant's growing habit, it often leads to a weaker plant that is prone to insects and disease.

Pruning evergreens just after Thanksgiving—just in time for holiday trimming—is an opportune time to take care of your evergreen plants such as Buxus, Ilex, Juniperus and Taxus. Investing time in your own back yard will not only save you money spent on decorating, but also save your plants in the long run.