grok
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Location: Round Rock, Texas (Austin), USDA Zone 8

Please help me with this overgrown mess (pics included)

Hi! This is a rental house with hedges that appear to not have been maintained in over two years. When I moved in, things were already overgrown, but over the last couple of months we had some decent rain, and the mild summer (relative to last year) here in central Texas resulted in things shooting up and getting out of control.

I'm new to this, just bought some hedge shears and realized that I'm not going to use them because if I were to cut away things to a reasonable height, there would be nothing to shape! lol! So, I understand that this may be a long recovery process, and I may not even be living here when the plants become bushy again, but I'd like to put things on the right path for whomever moves in next. I do have a pruning/cutter tool (the long wooden handles and the short, heavy-duty cutting part at the other end).

I expect that the strategy will depend on the plants themselves, but I'm not sure what they are called. There are two main plants that need the most attention. Then there is a palm (I know to just remove the dead fronds) and an evergreen (which I think I just need to shape, and maybe cut a bit off the top.

Here are some pictures. These plants are in front of a bedroom window between the garage and the front porch.

From the front, looking at the right part of the group:
Image

From in front of the porch, looking at the left side of the group -- the Virtex at the far left is potted, though the roots have gone through the pot, so that will be dug up and moved to the back yard:
Image

From the inside looking at the garage wall, near the inner corner seen in the first pic -- the two trees near the brick wall are the same kind, with the bigger leaves that were seen in the first pic (is it a tallow?), and the nearer tree/bush has the smaller leaves as the big bush seen in the second pic -- there are actually two of these bushes.. I didn't take a centered pic from the front as the sun was in the worst spot for it:
Image

And from the inside looking right, at the second of the bushier plants with the small leaves:
Image

What should I do? thank you for any suggestions.

grok
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Joined: Sun Sep 01, 2013 10:32 pm
Location: Round Rock, Texas (Austin), USDA Zone 8

Re: Please help me with this overgrown mess (pics included)

to help with identification, here is a closeup of the bush with the smaller leaves
Image

There are also these lower bushes which should be easier to fix, but any suggestions on them are appreciated too:
Image

imafan26
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Re: Please help me with this overgrown mess (pics included)

Since it is a rental house, it might be a good idea to check with the landlord first to make sure it is ok to move or cut the plants. Many rental agreements have clauses against doing major changes in the yard. I can understand why though, a cherished plant may be tossed out or an invasive one planted that would cause future problems for the homeowner.

Sometimes the homeowner really does appreciate it when someone wants to take care of the yard.

It is best to identify the plants in the yard first. Some can take hard pruning, but many others will fare better if no more than a third is cut back at any one time.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

grok
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Location: Round Rock, Texas (Austin), USDA Zone 8

Re: Please help me with this overgrown mess (pics included)

the virtex is the only thign moving and it's mine, I just didn't realize the roots would try to make an escape through the pot.. Nothing else is moving.

This is one of those neighborhoods that has a homeowners' association that fines you if your yard isn't in order. So, I'm doing this in part to avoid being fined.. I just need to do whatever is considered appropriate for aesthetics to make the place look tidy so that no neighbors rat me out. There are no worries about pruning, except that I need to do something sooner rather than later.. It is expected. If the right thing to do is to hard prune for some particular plant, then that's what I need to do.

Any suggestions for identifying? that was the other reason I posted the pictures.. I have no idea what these are really, and thus don't know what the plants can take.. This is probably typical tract development, cookie cutter USA subdivision landscaping.. I'll check with the management company as well, but they haven't been much help in the past.

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applestar
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Re: Please help me with this overgrown mess (pics included)

Since the first order of business is to ID the plants, I'll move this thread to the Plant ID forum. Some of these plants are going to need additional description and better photos. Once Positive ID's are made, the thread can be moved back to the Trees and Shrubs -- just PM one of the mods.

Some trees/shrubs shouldn't be pruned during disease prone seasons when infection can enter from larger cuts, while others should be pruned while sap is running well to prevent infection. But another consideration here is that depending on the tree/shrub, there is a season that is worst for pruning and particularly hard pruning, which is before they stop active growth but late in the season. Hard pruning sometimes triggers massive new side shoot growths, but late in the active growth season, those shoots won't have enough time to harden before winter and they can be more easily damaged by frost and freeze. If all the new growths are winterkilled, it will totally wreck the appearance of the pruned trees and shrubs.

In that case, you would be better off only removing damaged and crossing branches and making thinning cuts to remove entire excess branches and sucker shoots for now, and only making partial heading cuts for appearance's sake. You can make further shaping cuts lower down later after they are finished active growth or go dormant.

Of course, this may not be as much of an issue in Texas, but again, it will depend on the plants.
...wait didn't you mention you are in Texas? Please make sure to put your location in the profile or plant ID and any gardening advice appropriate to your area will be difficult/impossible.
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

imafan26
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Re: Please help me with this overgrown mess (pics included)

I live in commieville too. I get fined because they don't like my landscaping 20 ft inside my yard and they require 50% of the front yard to be grass. The only way around that is a solid wall but walls have to be parallel to the front face of the house before they can go up above 3 ft. So, I have 50% grass in the yard fronting the fence and a shrub border. They grumbled about the shrubs I planted on the curbside. I planted them because people would clean their cars out and leave their diapers and fast food containers on the strip and I have tall shrubs and palms in front of the fence for privacy. Besides the shrub border is less work than grass, is more colorful, and uses less water. I do have to give up a good deal of space for aesthetics. 19x20 ft. There are also rules that prohibit "vegetative" plants in the front yard. So I plant, nasturtiums, roses, acerola, lavender, and some edible flowers there instead. I don't eat them, they are just technically edible. Technically grass is "vegetative" and edible as well.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Please help me with this overgrown mess (pics included)

Man someone is letting a little bit of power go to their head! That's just crazy. What is a "vegetative" plant? I would have thought all plants were vegetative.
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imafan26
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Re: Please help me with this overgrown mess (pics included)

I think they meant they don't want vegetable gardens in the front yard. Even if they are well cared for.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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Mr_bobo_
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Re: Please help me with this overgrown mess (pics included)

Last picture: Lonicera nitida
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