AndrewSmith
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Identifying bushes and hedges at my new house

Hi, I wonder if someone would share their knowledge about these hedges? We just moved in a couple of months ago and now that we're getting settled I want to make sure I don't let the bushes go crazy, something tells me I'll suffer in the long run if I do. Could you help me figure out what they are and when/how to trim them?

Thanks in advance!

1. Euomynus or azalea?

Image

I guess the intent was for it to be as low as it is on the right, not to climb un on the patio. Though it might look good if it were a little taller. Should I just chop it all off at that level indiscriminantly? Or cut off the longer branches where they start? Using pruners?

2. Cedar or leyland cypress?

Image
Image

This is in Thornhill (GTA) so I'm guessing it's a cedar though I can't tell the difference between that and a leyland cypress:
It's very tall and growing from a ditch, so getting up there will be a challenge. Should I get an appropriate ladder and use an electric hedge trimmer? Or should I look for a more expensive trimmer on a long pole? Even with that I don't think I could do the top without a ladder.

3. Yew hedge

Image

There are a couple of these, formed into boxes. The larger one (not in the photo) needs about 25% shaved off one side where it's hanging over the driveway. Is an electric hedge trimmer ok to use on it? You may be able to see in the photo I tried to use one that wasn't sharp. Or should I get manual shears and learn to use them?

4. Yew bushes

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There are a couple of these, the same species as above (I think) but not formed into cubes. Should I only use pruners for these? Like the guy in the video here?

5. Goldmount spirea?

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Doesn't look great but I think it's size may have been by design. Should I just snip off the dead branches and keep it small like that? Or try to let it grow? It doesn't seem to have grown at all over the summer.

6. Cedar cones

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Electric hedge trimmer or shears or leave it alone? This may be its natural shape.

7. Boxwood?

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Electric hedge trimmer or shears to keep it in that shape?

8. Unknown 1

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Also cedar, maybe? It doesn't seem to be growing upwards much. Do I thin it out? Or try to prune like the yew bushes? Leave it alone?

9. Unknown 2

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No idea what this is. But it sprouted a lot this summer and I should keep it at its current height. I'm thinking also prune like the yew buses? Slicing parts off with an electric trimmer seems a bad idea for this one, though it's kid of round in shape like the yew hedges.

Is it ok to do all this trimming now?

Man, I didn't even realize what a variety of bushes we had until I posted this! I hope someone will be willing to help out a newbie get started on the right foot!

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Identifying bushes and hedges at my new house

Thornhill GTA is in Ontario, Canada, right?

Picture 1 is eunoymus

Picture 2, I can't get much of a close up.

This is northern white cedar:

Image
http://www.wood-database.com/wp-content ... r-leaf.jpg

this is leland cypress:

Image
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/ ... ypress.jpg

the cedar needles are flatter

looking at the second part of the picture, looks more like cedar

you are right, 5 is spirea and 7 is boxwood

8 is a prostrate juniper, you don't need to do anything to it

I think 9 is just a japanese honeysuckle shrub. Where I am it is an invasive pest.

Needle evergreens are best pruned in early spring after the ground has thawed and no later than June15th. But the cedar should be pruned gently and with caution. If you prune in to the old hardened wood, it will not grow back from there and will leave a hole. The ones in 6, I would leave alone.

The yew can tolerate much more pruning.

One thing to know generally about pruning any shrub is to leave it broader at the base. If it is pruned in to round, square, or inverted triangle shapes where the base is narrower, then the leaves at the base will be shaded out, and will die off, leaving bare sticks at the bottom:

Image
http://www2.ca.uky.edu/agc/pubs/ho/ho55/f6.gif

Yew hedge should look about like this:

Image
http://msue.anr.msu.edu/uploads/images/ ... runing.jpg

Otherwise you will end up with something like this:

Image
https://palmbeachcountyextension.files. ... slide1.jpg

there are some extreme examples of this in my neighborhood: hedge shrubs that are very wide on top, but have just a couple inches of leaves and then three feet of bare sticks tapering in to the base. Ugly!

I'm sure others can give you more details on some of the pruning stuff. Welcome to the Forum and your new home!
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imafan26
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Re: Identifying bushes and hedges at my new house

Yep, a lot of older plantings look like that. When the tops are trimmed wider, the sun can't reach the bottom and you end up with mini trees.
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pinksand
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Re: Identifying bushes and hedges at my new house

#9 looks like winged burning bush (euonymus alatus). It's invasive in my area and a lot of the Eastern US, but I'm not sure about up where you are. I believe that pruning for shape is best done in late winter while it's dormant.
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AndrewSmith
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Re: Identifying bushes and hedges at my new house

Thanks for the advice!

Yep, I'm in southern ontario.

Should I do anything with the dead leaves from the juniper? It's mostly live branches green at the top and brown on the inside, but there are a couple of small branches that seem to be all dead (I can't really tell though).

I already started tryin to trim the yews, I read somewhere that I should prune them late august to september. Should I wait till spring to do the rest? All my box shaped yews are shaped wider at the top. It's strange but they actually look quite healthy. I used an electric trimmer and it was hard to do the side that needed to be reduced by a few centimeters, a lot of harder thicker wood there. Should I shape them correctly all at once and hope they recover next year? Or do it over a couple of years?

I guess that #9 is unlikely to be anything valuable so if I kill it I won't feel too bad :) I've got a couple of them, one is growing quite large in the back yard. I'll try some heavy pruning.

What counts as late winter? Around the last snow? What makes them dormant, is november too early?
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AndrewSmith
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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2015 5:40 am
Location: Markham, Ontario (Canadian zone 6a)

Re: Identifying bushes and hedges at my new house

But the cedar should be pruned gently and with caution. If you prune in to the old hardened wood, it will not grow back from there and will leave a hole.
Oh and about the cedars - I would dearly love to save the tall thick hedge in the back. I don't know how many years it's been without pruning, possibly two. And there are some small holes showing up.

Are the branches in the closeup hardened already? How do I tell? If it's risky - should I try to trim only this year's growth and hope that it fills in the following years? Is there a limit to how wide it can get while staying so thick?

You can see the full size photo here: http://littlesvr.ca/misc/garden/Cedar%20close.jpg

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pinksand
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Re: Identifying bushes and hedges at my new house

AndrewSmith wrote:
I guess that #9 is unlikely to be anything valuable so if I kill it I won't feel too bad :) I've got a couple of them, one is growing quite large in the back yard. I'll try some heavy pruning.

What counts as late winter? Around the last snow? What makes them dormant, is november too early?
Late winter is usually around March for me. November is probably still too early to prune. Fall pruning is the most dangerous time to prune because it can spur new growth when the shrub should be going dormant. The dead of winter can be okay, but late winter/early spring is usually the best time for many shrubs/trees. Flowering shrubs are kind of a different story. Spring bloomers, like azaleas for example, should be pruned shortly after blooming. If you prune them in late winter or even too late into the summer they aren't likely to bloom that spring.

Yews are extremely forgiving of pruning so if you wanted to get out some loppers and work on reshaping them they may be ugly for a year but will probably flush out some nice new growth next year. I had some that were shaped into large rectangular hedges when we moved in and I've slowly worked on rounding them out, which is more my style.

Oh and as for #9, they do offer spectacular fall color so I wouldn't say they're totally undesirable. Most people plant them for their fiery red leaves, hence the name "burning bush." For me, their invasiveneness outweighs their fall beauty but some people do love them.

Good luck with all your pruning!
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