Most suburban hedges are pruned incorrectly

  • Deadhead your hybrid roses as soon as the flowers fade. These are hybrid rugosa roses.

    Deadhead your hybrid roses as soon as the flowers fade. These are hybrid rugosa roses. Courtesy of Chicago Botanic Garden

By Tim Johnson
Chicago Botanic Garden
Posted6/28/2020 7:00 AM

June is a good month to shear your hedges. Prune formal hedges slightly wider at their base than at the top. This ensures the sides of the hedge will receive equal sun exposure and helps to keep the foliage full from top to bottom.

Many hedges in the home landscape are not pruned properly and are usually wider at the top than the base.


Pruning hedges in June will help create a denser hedge. There likely will be more growth, so plan on shearing again in July.

• Deadhead hybrid roses as soon as the flowers fade. Many shrub roses are self-cleaning and don't require deadheading. When in doubt, lightly prune old blossoms to keep the plant looking attractive.

Do not deadhead any roses that are being grown for their hip production.

• Mowing is one way to control weeds in a large, natural prairie area that is being established in your garden.

Native plants typically develop their roots, not their foliage or flowers, in their early years, which gives weeds the opportunity to gain a foothold. Mow weedy areas now at a high height to cut back the weeds and keep them from choking out the native plants.

In small areas, weed by hand. You can also carefully spot treat weeds with an herbicide.

• Monitor and train vines, such as clematis, on their supports. It is best to do this on a regular basis to direct the vines where you want them to go.

Once they have been allowed to grow out for a few weeks without support, it will be difficult to train them back up.

• Tim Johnson is director of horticulture at Chicago Botanic Garden,

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