I have to admit, this article is about one of my pet peeves, plant butchering. I hope to educate homeowners and commercial landscapers about how the specific growth habits of different plants should dictate the appropriate pruning methods.
If you remember only one rule from this article, it should be this: Some plants should not be sheared into unnatural balls or boxes!
This caveat especially applies to tall grass species and similar plants. Their leaves are showy, and if they’re chopped halfway off, the attractive form of the plants are ruined permanently or for many years to come. If grasses are shaped like hedges, the result is unsightly, ragged balls of half-length leaves from which the points of longer, newly emerged leaves stick out, looking like a horrible haircut.
Ornamental grasses and other plants with a similar appearance have characteristically long, narrow, straplike leaves, and they’re frequently used as focal points in a landscape. Depending on the species, their foliage can be stiffly upright, gracefully arching or tufted. They don’t have branches with leaves scattered along their length; instead, their leaves all emerge like a fountain from a central, ground-level clump or crown. Their leaf buds are at the root-shoot junction at or near the soil level.
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