It’s Holly’s day…but she’s off playing in a tropical paradise. So because she seems to be of a sunnier disposition than I am, I’ll post happy thoughts today.
One of my favorite pruning techniques, especially for small urban landscapes, is arborizing. This is a way of creating small trees out of large shrubs – and often, a large shrub is as much as a small landscape can handle. Rhododendrons are common landscape plants here in Seattle, and the larger ones lend themselves beautifully to this practice:
As you’ll notice in this example, arborizing not only creates an aesthetically pleasing tree form, but also moves the crown away from vehicular and pedestrian traffic. This protects the plant from damage and enhances access.
This also works wonderfully in landscapes where you would like to have layers of shrubs, rather than one massive plant. Look at this Ceanothus:
Arborizing this shrub not only allows planting additional plants underneath, but also allows some light into the house (note the window in the background).
Fall is generally a good time to prune (after the crowns have gone dormant). It’s easier to see trunk and branch architecture in deciduous trees, and generally places less stress on the plant.
If you’ve arborized shrubs before, which species work well for you? Which ones not so well?
See? I can be a happy blogger!