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Pruning vs. Golf

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Many homeowners, especially husbands dread this time of year because they hate yard work. And part of that yard work is the obligatory pruning of the shrubs. Well I’m here to liberate husbands from at least the pruning aspect of the yard work. We will tackle other low maintenance tasks later. The first step in reducing pruning maintenance is to plant the right plant in the right place. If you don’t want the bushes to go above the window, then instead of planting a shrub that will grow to 10′ and fighting Mother Nature to keep it 5′, just plant a 5′ shrub. Many folks start with Japanese Holly as a foundation plant and then shear it every month or so through the summer to keep it “from getting out of hand”. Relatively speaking, this is a cheap plant to purchase. But the maintenance is never ending. That cheap shrub just cost you a monthly game of golf Mister! Instead of Japanese Holly consider the older and wiser boxwood. This shrub used to be a staple in the landscape but was put on the shelf a few decades ago in favor of the cheaper look alike, Japanese Holly. The English or Korean Boxwood can be almost completely maintenance free! It needs almost no pruning at all to keep its natural billowy shape. Instead of a tight sheared topiary that gets a little “straggly looking” before you give it a crew cut again, the boxwood has a more natural loosely rounded shape. Boxwoods grow slowly and are drought tolerant. The English boxwood likes the shade and the Korean does quite well in sun. Be careful to correctly site their American cousin. He likes to grow quite tall. If you plant him under the window you will be back to the shearing game again.   Boxwoods come in a large variety of sizes from 12″ to 12′. There is even a variegated cultivar out there called ‘Elegantissima” . Compared to Japanese Hollies, Boxwoods seem quite expensive, but it’s like anything else– you get what you pay for. Just think of all those golf games you are missing. That alone makes it worth the expense. So put those shears away fellas. Plant some Boxwoods and then go golfing! 

Rick Rice

English Boxwood…English Boxwood

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