The Art Of Pruning For Maintaining Value Around Your Property

The art of pruning around New York especially Long Island involves a great sensitivity to the diversity we can plant in this zone (7a). I have recently visited over 100 properties in the past three and a half months and everyone seems to have similar issues and questions. My gardens, landscapes and trees have gotten so big! What can be done to regain control over my expensive ornamental plants? These questions and many others like them have answers very specific to each individual homeowner. This is where I am going to begin today (where to begin to regain control). For additional information just click on the following link pruned less than 2 times a year is irresponsible

After pruning to manage value of planting (not afraid of pruning hard)
Restoration pruning to mange value
Before pruning the walkway (Boxwoods and Juniper)

The easy answer so many people have done the past 20 years has been to rip out the majority of the property and redesign. There are times when this seems the logical decision. The idea of starting fresh can be enlightening but there are sacrifices to mature and sometimes valuable specimens that are made in this process. More valuable to the property can be either transplanting the desired plants that can be restored and then redesigning around some of the mature trees. People ask the next obvious question. How much would it cost to do it this way verses that way. The truth is it might cost the same to do it either way. The difference is, the restoration and redesign approach manages the environment better, brings greater value to the landscape (having specimens that are more mature) and in turn maintains and or increases the value of the property.

Kousa Dogwood interesting flower color change (white to molted with pink)
Kousa Dogwood interesting flower color change (white to molted with pink)
Kousa with flowers that change from white to molted white & pink)
Kousa Dogwood (beautiful variety with a molted white and pink flower)

Some of the pictures I post into this article today will be of landscapes that will be restored and then I will take pictures of these landscapes after I am done and post them in a second article (demonstrating before and after).

On the topic of The Art Of The Prune, I want to revisit the plant diversity on Long Island and the knowledge needed to manage the plant diversity New York homeowners have had installed around their homes. Perrotia persica in an extremely valuable tree for it’s wonderful branching structure, tri-colored bark throughout the year and the grand Autumn display the leaves demonstrate. The problem for anyone choosing to plant this wonderful specimen is not where to find it or even how to plant it, but who will help me manage the development of the tree where I choose to plant it. If you own a property with 1 acre or more it really doesn’t matter because you can plant it in the middle of an open area and leave it alone for a lifetime. The majority of people landscaping around their property doesn’t do this and then have to manage how the tree grows alongside other plant material or structures. This is where I have developed a following.

Specimens around the house loosing their value (Hinoki Cypress and Cedrus Deodora Auria)
Specimens around the house loosing their value (Hinoki Cypress and Cedrus Deodora Auria)
Giving new plantings in established gardens room to grow (Chamaecyparis 'Golden Showers')
Giving new plantings in established gardens room to grow (Chamaecyparis 'Golden Showers')

I am the only one that I know of that has learned how to manage the ongoing development of maturing landscapes and gardens. What this means is I don’t only know how to cut and prune all these plants I how how they are going to respond to the pruning I perform on them. This is the power someone needs to have over a natural environment in a man made world. Without this power nature tends to take over and the value of what you originally wanted to design and develop is lost (along with the possible cost of fixing it or ripping and redoing it). To support the idea of know the plant material, how large it can grow and the knowledge of how it responds to specific types of pruning, there is a sensitivity that must be in place between the homeowner with their property and the designer/restoration specialist.

Two evenings ago I met a couple in their mid 80’s. For years he took pride in managing his own landscape, a landscape with many expensive specimens on a small 1/3 of an acre property. After 46 years it isn’t easy to give up control to someone else. Last year he had a stroke and is now legally blind and has unfortunately had to humble himself, with his wife’s help, to call someone like me onto the property. I spent two and a half hours with them walking the property and discussing gardens, their history in the house and neighborhood and their lives together (60 years). My wife has asked my why my appointments are so long? I try to explain to her, for me it is about relationship building. I am building a relationship with the homeowners and their gardens/landscapes so that I have the ability to take what is in their head and get it into mine. This process gives me the greatest opportunity to meet everyone’s expectations. I don’t thing there is anything else to say on that topic.

Blue Atlas Cedar and Japanese Maple (possibly 'Bloodgood')
Question: Who is going to manage the beautiful design concept as it overwhelms the house and surrounding gardens? Good Luck With That...

All everyone needs to understand is it is Truly an Art, restoring older more mature gardens and landscapes. Without beating a dead horse, overgrown gardens take time to renew. Pruning is only one piece of the pie, even though a large piece. Soil and it’s condition (after years of the mow and blow companies taking away all your organic mater, removing leaves in the Fall), nutrient levels and compaction can cause havoc around trees and plants. How is water getting to the gardens and is it managed correctly for the plants in those gardens? Once the gardens are restored (between 18 months and 3 years) what is the maintenance program that needs to be put into place to now properly care for everything that was fixed? The truth is any property with gardens and trees should be reviewed at least 5 times a year and pruned a minimum 3 times a year because of the greater diversity of material installed over the past two decades. It is important to know that new landscapes need care as well so that they develop to meet the desired design goals. When they reach their optimum sizes based on homeowner expectation most landscape companies do not have the trained personnel to manage their clients gardens and trees.

This article was specific and was intended to make everyone consider what they want around their house and what will be needed to manage that which you desire throughout the years you live in that home. I hope this helped guide those in need as they navigate through the gardens surrounding their lives.

p.s. Michael @ is available for

Individual Restoration and Design Tutoring (on your site, in

your gardens and around your trees). Anyone interested should

contact us for more information.

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