I've just started my new class at the Arboretum called Maintenance. It's part of the required Garden Basics courses I have to take for the Gardening Certificate.
So far the class has paid for itself because I learned 2 important things:
1) When you renewal prune it doesn't mean-- as I foolishly thought before -- taking it "down" by 1/3, but to prune out 1/3 of the canes from the bottom. Yes, I asked that question in class and yes, I am now prefacing all my questions with, "I have a stupid question..."
2) Pruning and shearing are 2 different things. Yes, I have been wearing a gardeners dunce cap this whole time. I thought this whole time I was pruning my shrubs, but I was just shearing them.
And by shearing I mean ... I have a garden of meatballs.
Larry, Darryl, & Darryl, my three Judd Viburnums out front were smaller meatballs when we moved in. I ignored them for 2 seasons in which it was pointed out to me that they were getting so large, that some madman could hide behind them and attack me (this in a neighborhood where I leave my garage open all night and nothing has ever been taken - knock on wood). So I sheared them back out of pure panic and it was such a panic that I'm surprised I didn't shear everything back to 3', limiting myself to being terrorized by only very small madmen.
So now my goal is to de-meatball the Viburnum -- a feat my teacher said could happen by:
1) leaving them alone - i.e. no shearing
2) renewal prune out 1/3 of the canes to encourage lower horizontal growth.
And even this might not solve the problem, and it may take a long time, but I am determined to be on meatball watch; to do what I can to transform these spaghetti toppers into lush, naturalized shrubs -- the way that nature intended.
Meatball watch is officially ON.