Category Archives: Yard Maintenance

Pruning the shrubs and bushes

Improving health of shrubs and bushes


Give your trees, shrubs and bushes what they need.
Give your trees, shrubs and bushes what they need.

Pruning the shrubs and bushes in our yards can vastly improve not only their appearance but also their health and vitality. It can, however, be a bit intimidating. At VIRIDIS Lawn Care of Salt Lake, we want to help you have to confidence and know-how to take on this task yourself should you desire. Here, we will overview some basics of shrub pruning with following posts going into more detail for specific types of plants and their needs.

Most importantly, when pruning any plant, is safety. Using the appropriate tools and safety gear can help this job go much more smoothly. Make sure all pruning shears are sharp. Wear long sleeves and gloves to prevent scratches to your arms and hands. You may even consider safety glasses.

Second most important, forget your fear. Fear of injuring your plant will only hold you back. Not pruning can actually cause more harm than leaving a bush to its own devices. This can reduce air and light circulation, killing off the lower, inner branches. Limbs may begin to grow into each other which can damage or kill them. The plant may end up with unevenly distributed weight or poorly formed branches that can cause breakage. Flowering shrubs will decrease their blooms. By pruning properly you can avoid all of these situations.

Next, know your plant and prune when the time is best for it, not you. Busy schedules happen. Sometimes a long weekend off seems like the best time to get out there and do some yard work but pruning during the wrong season for your particular shrub can cause serious problems. Poor timing can result in stunted growth, little or no flowering the following year, and even a potential for your plant to die over the winter. Some pruning, such as the removal of any dead or damaged wood, can be undertaken any time of year at your convenience.

Below are some recommended pruning “seasons” and the types of plants that prefer to be pruned in each case.

  • Very Early Spring – Prune any summer-flowering bushes while still dormant. Bare limbs will help you see the structure of the plant and make it easier to shape as desired. Once the plant begins actively growing, the cuts will heal quickly.
  • Very Early Summer – This is an ideal time to prune spring-flowering shrubs. Once their blooms fade, they begin producing flowers on only their previous season’s growth. Pruning sooner will increase flower production rather than cutting off the next year’s blossoms by waiting until later in the year.
  • Midsummer – This is best for any trees or shrubs that have large amounts of spring sap. Once their leaves are fully developed, the sap production will slow which will make pruning a much easier, cleaner endeavor.

In following articles we will go into more detail on how to specifically prune different varieties of plants and when, because pruning really can increase the health and beauty of your landscape.

End of Summer, Yard Maintenance

Fall Tree Care

This tree is ready for fall
This tree is ready for fall

As summer comes to a close and fall quickly approaches, VIRIDIS Lawn Care of Salt Lake City wants to help you prepare.  Fall means prepping your landscape for winter. Trees in particular need some extra care and attention. Below, we’ll outline some things you can do to help your trees to survive winter in the best shape possible.

Once the leaves begin changing color and falling from your trees, hold off watering until all the leaves have fallen. Once they are all off the branches, renew watering until the ground is frozen.  Any unusually warm spells during the winter that thaw the ground are also great opportunities for giving your trees an extra drink. This will help the trees have needed water during the cold winter months.  Even if they are dormant, they need water to survive and receiving any during the winter is difficult and unpredictable.

While fall is a great time for fertilizing most landscape, trees benefit more from early spring fertilizer. Fall fertilizing could lead to new growth when your trees need to go dormant instead. Instead, use this fall season to take note of whether your trees are in need of fertilization or not. Not all trees will need fertilized ever year but a few signs include: pale leaves, leaves falling particularly early, wilting, and stunted growth.  Note, and consider recording your observations so you will remember to fertilize come spring.

Pruning is especially important during the fall. New growth occurred all summer and it needs to be corrected. Anything that became damaged or died during the warm months needs to be removed.  Pruning habits change depending on your tree varieties.  Consider hiring a professional or at least thoroughly research your variety of tree to insure you prune it carefully and correctly.  This will help your tree not only look considerably better but increases its health and vigor.

Young, small trees are most susceptible to cold weather damage since they are less developed with thinner bark and a smaller root system.  The temperature fluctuations can kill or at least damage them much more easily than large, well established, older trees.  To help protect them, lay up to 6” of mulch leaves or bark around the base, but not against the trunk or fungus may begin to grow.  Wait to mulch until after the ground has frozen. In addition, or as an alternative, you may wrap the lower trunk (up to the lowest branch) in burlap. This is especially helpful to protect young trees near roadways from salt spray and plowed snow.

New trees you would like to add to your landscaping can be planted in the fall. This, remarkably, reduces the amount of stress the young saplings will be subjected to.  The cooler weather can help them focus more growth towards their root system to become firmly established.

Preparing in the fall for the harsh winter weather will dramatically improve your chances for healthy, happy trees next spring.  Take the time to help them through.