overgrown shrubs on commercial properties can become a costly liabilitySome of our commercial clients ask us what tasks to consider with regular landscape maintenance. One of the areas to address once or twice a year is shrub and hedge trimming.

These types of plants often grow with abandon from just a good old dose of rain and sunshine, which we get in abundance here in the Florida Panhandle.

Here’s a closer look four key pruning tips for overgrown shrubs as well as why it’s important to shrubs and hedges under control on your commercial property.

When Is A Shrub Overgrown?

This is a great question to ask, and the answer becomes more clear if you see before and after shrub maintenance pictures. Some things we look at when evaluating whether a shrub needs trimming are whether there are dead and damaged branches. This isn’t always obvious, since some of those branches may be hidden by healthy branches. If you get in close and pull away the greenery, you might see some bare branches.

Another thing to look for is the shrub’s shape. When left to grow without maintenance, the shoots don’t look neat. The growth can come quickly but not evenly. The shrubs may start covering up windows, blocking walkways, hiding electrical outlets and water hook-ups, creating a dangerous situation.

Why Prune Shrubs?

Pruning shrubs helps maintain their health and lets them flower more and grow denser foliage. Pruning also gives the shrubs a more pleasing shape and keeps them to a size that works for the building and the landscaping.

Once the shrubs get to the ideal size, they’ll need trimming to make sure they don’t get too big. You’ll want to remove dead branches that might have died from insect damage or plant disease and thin out other branches to give them room to grow well so they’re not crowded or spaced too closely.

We suggest pruning the shrubs at least twice yearly. Giving shrubs room to grow includes leaving some space in between them and the building. Even if you don’t plan to walk between the shrubs and the building, it’s good to allow air circulation for the branches in the back and keep them from rubbing on the building.

Where Can Overgrown Shrubs Be A Problem On Commercial Properties?

overgrown shrubs and hedges can be dangerous for drivers and pedestrians on commercial properties

Of course aesthetically pruning shrubs makes a difference. But the overgrowth can cause other problems as well. If the shrubs cover signage, clients may have difficulty finding where they need to go.

In parking areas, shrubs and foliage can cause blind spots, making it dangerous for both car drivers and pedestrians. If plants hang over the walkways or building entrance, pedestrians could trip or get snagged on them, or be forced to change their path.

Shrubs and trees sometimes grow tall enough to get tangled with power lines, which not only makes trimming dangerous, but can cause downed wires if a branch falls.

All of these situations should be a property manager’s concern because they cause liability issues. Shrubs can harm visitors, whether it’s a branch falling or people hurting themselves when avoiding overgrown branches.

Pruning Tips For Your Commercial Landscaping

Here are a few pruning tips for overgrown shrubs on your commercial property:

Thin Is In

To thin out your shrub branches, look for branches that are rubbing against others, or those that are smallest or weakest. Cut them at the base where they merge with another branch.

For Flowering Shrubs

If the shrub is a flowering one and you’re trimming while it flowers, cut the branch above the bud. This keeps the bud alive and lets it develop its natural shape.

What Is Hard Pruning?

For overgrown shrubs, some landscapers prefer to do a “renewal” or “hard” pruning. This involves trimming all of the stems down to the base, with an inch of the shrub’s trunk showing. This is usually done during winter when the plant is dormant. The shrub then grows in spring with new shoots.

While it takes time to return to a mature looking shrub, it can save a shrub that otherwise isn’t faring well.

Unsure? Put The Pruners Down

Screen_Shot_2015-07-13_at_3.43.56_PMIf you’re unsure what to prune or how extensively you can trim, it’s best to ask a professional for advice or to do the actual pruning. GreenEarth can advise you about the best way to keep them looking healthy and do the work as well.

GreenEarth Can Help You Gain Control Over Your Overgrown Shrubs

At GreenEarth, we can do a visual inspection of your landscaping, including shrub health. We have the experience, tools and manpower to keep your shrubs and other plants in great shape.

If you’d like a consultation or want to know what we can do to help you, give us a call at our Panama City Beach office at (850) 236-1959, or call our Santa Rosa Beach office at (850) 267-0010 to set up an appointment. You can also fill out the online form on our website to schedule a consultation.

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