Square or rectangular shape are not the natural shapes, so try to give the bush a globular shape. Shaping topiary is a fun and inexpensive way to create year-round interest in the garden. For example, if you are making your topiary into a cone, choose a boxwood that already has a pyramid shape. Prune your flowering shrubs to shape them after they've bloomed and before they set buds for the following year, so you don't inadvertently remove the buds and ruin next year's bloom. It is best to let the crown grow naturally, but you can shape it into a ball if you wish. The formal shapes contrast dramatically with flowers in summer, and bring structure, style and form to winter gardens. Lay a cloth measuring tape on a flat surface. The fullness of the lower branching of the plant is also important. All Rights Reserved. Hold the sphere against your shrub and trim any branches that grow outside of the circle. You can train climbing greenery sprigs to cover topiary frames in many shapes. In order to get the desired shape, you want to create a slope in the bush. Avoid the ball shape, and go for a tree-like open canopy. You want a foot or two (0.5 m.) of height to have a good plant to shape. A light tip prune may be required to even out the shape. Use secateurs, scissors or single-handed shears to cut young topiary or intricate forms. To prune balls, take a length of garden wire and twist it into a circular shape that can be held and moved over the plant as you prune. Though pruning topiary may seem intimidating, it can actually be quite simple. Incorporating a topiary shrub into a landscape gives it a structural element that helps to balance strong architectural elements such as a heavy fence or wall. Shrubs such as boxwood or juniper grow back thicker after each trimming. J. Johnson has been completing freelance writing work since September 2009. Regular trimming is important for a couple of reasons: First, if the plant grows too much away from its basic shape, the core will become shaded and die out. However, there are almost endless different animal shapes that you can choose from, including domestic animals, farm animals and exotic creatures. Make the animal large sized out of the wire. Just avoid pruning while it’s flowering. Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →, garden shears closed image by Kathy Burns from, Texas A&M University Extension: Follow Proper Pruning Techniques, Iowa State University Extension: Boxwood: A Versatile Evergreen. Put both ends of the wire in the dirt to keep it in place, with the wire pressing against the bush as you prune as a guide and to help you achieve the rounded appearance. Cut a piece of baling wire with wire cutters to the size plus 1/2 inch. Look for one that has a more or less vertical stem that can be used as the main support for the plant. How to Make a Bush Shaped as a Ball With Trimming 1. Your shears have to be clean and sharp, as pruning with blunt tools only harms the stems. Mix a solution of one part bleach and nine parts water in a bucket. Rather than free-handing a topiary shape, use a guide when trying to achieve a perfect circle. When the ball reaches the desired size over time, forego the second shoot which would mean a second cut and therefore, unnecessary work. Select a hedge with a branching habit. She has published novels and numerous online articles. Cut back the young current season’s shoots (which are a paler green) when they have reached 8-10cm long. Step back from your topiary plant after making each cut to assess whether you are trimming the plant properly. The angle should be more gradual than it would be for a cone topiary. Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map! Insert a strong stake, like a tree stake or rebar section, beside the main stem. Trim terminal grow back to a previous growing point to prevent ragged edges. The inner limbs need air and sunlight, so cut back along the branch just above new growth or at the plant base; avoid electric trimmers for this. If you want an especially precise measurement, use a level to … You can also cut the bush into a natural looking tree shape. If you are pruning these bushes then you can give it a variety of shapes, like rectangle, square, globe or even tree-like. Copyright Leaf Group Ltd. // Leaf Group Lifestyle. Topiary shapes range from simple spheres, cones and squares to fanciful designs such as peacocks, bears and even faces. Topiaries express a unique personality in a lawn or garden for a visually appealing sight. Promote Plant Health: Trees and shrubs stay healthier if you remove branches that are diseased, dead, pest-ridden or rubbing together. Then, as you prune, use the wire as a guide for shapes and dimensions. If shaping a multi-stemmed bush into a ball, no preliminary pruning is needed. Make the animal large sized out of the wire. Begin snipping branches from the top of the bush and work on done. Now, cut the ball once, the middle/end July – when no more second shoots are expected. If you are trimming a shrub into a cone, create a straight guide that you can hold against the slope of the shrub to determine that the surface of the cone is uniform. Pick one and place it on the bush. Dull blades can damage branches, creating tears that lead to … With regular trimming, the shrubs will be “trained” to grow around the frame, but you need to be patient as the process takes time. Set out your tools in advance so that they will be handy when you need them. If that is too tricky, you can purchase predesigned wire animal shapes that are sold at some home and garden stores. Do not start cutting away at thicker stems unless you have to. This type of cut is healthier for the bush. If you are creating a round ball, bend the wire into a sphere. Boxwood Landscaping Boxwood Garden Topiary Garden Topiary Trees Garden Shrubs Backyard Landscaping Boxwood Topiary Garden Planters Boxwood Planters. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Arkansas. If you are creating a round ball, bend the wire into a sphere. Set up 2 stakes on each side of the shrub and tie a string between them. The yard stick can help you accomplish straight lines. For complex topiary, gradually shape the plant over time by removing a little bit of the shrub during each training session. You need to prune your Photinia red robin sometime between early Spring … I use both … Bring the two loose ends of wire together and... 3. Aim to remove about one inch of growth to start. This ensures the health of the bush. Insert one stake for … Keep the string taut and use it as the height that you'll trim the shrub to. If you have decided that you’d like to give topiary a try, then you may want to have a few practice bushes. Cutting shrubs with dense growth such as boxwood into ornamental shapes is an art known as topiary. Draw the animal shape that you want to cut. Once your plant is the size you want it to be, and tall enough for the shape you have planned, simply prune it into shape. Bend garden wire into the animal shape that you want to prune in the bush. You'll also need to carefully consider where you place your topiary ball. This will sterilize the tools. This will sacrifice flowers and fruit and requires more consistent maintenance than a natural habit. Trim any branches that grow beyond the level of the template with your hand shears. If you haven’t tried topiary before, making box balls is a great way to start. During the growing season, the topiary will need pruning about once a month. Bushes pruned into various ornamental shapes are known as topiaries. As you continue to trim, you will create a slant from the top that goes halfway down to the side edges of the bush. Select a reference point on the plant to work from. It is easiest to start pruning a shrub into a tree before it develops a lot of stems, but you can also use pruning to get the shape you want. Article by fgottttttttttttttttttt. For example, if you are making a cone, work outward from a central stem. You could also trim from deep inside the plant by cutting close to the trunk and removing whole large branches. Cutting shrubs with dense growth such as boxwood into ornamental shapes is an art known as topiary. The next step is to be sure that you have the right tools for the job. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World." For example, the wire can be bent into the rounded back of an elephant. Create a wire template to help you with fine trimming for your shrub. If you are trimming a shrub into a cone, create a straight guide that you can hold against the slope of the shrub to determine that the surface of the cone is uniform. Schedule your first topiary training session for spring after all danger of frost has passed. One type of shape that you can prune your bushes into is animal shapes. Once you have the right shape, trim regularly to maintain it and to promote full, bushy growth. Trim any branches that grow beyond the level of the template with your hand shears. Assuming it’s a type that tolerates topiary (some do not), cut it in a general ball shape a foot or more - at least several inches - smaller than you want it to be (so it has room to grow out). It's possible to trim simple shapes – such as cones and balls – by eye, but for greater accuracy use a garden cane as a cutting guide for straight edges or make a template. Always cut at a slight angle, as this allows you to make the cuts more accurately. The shrub you select should already be shaped roughly in a circle to make it easier to shape. The wind is its worst enemy so find a protected spot with plenty of light. Make cuts to thicker branches angled downward, away from the base of the bush, using hand held trimmers. Cut the plant into the crown shape you want. Keep in mind that topiary is ephemeral and will need attention if you want your plant to maintain its shape. Then, prune the shrub branches where they are sticking out. 47. Use 2 stakes as a guide while you level the shrub. For example, the wire can be bent into the rounded back of an elephant. Choose a shrub to make into your topiary that already has a similar shape. // Leaf Group Lifestyle. Use a yard stick to guide you as you prune the animal shapes into the bushes. Viburnum often grows well when it is left alone, so … Never remove more than 1/3 of your topiary plant’s total size during initial training. For example, a zebra can end up looking just like a dog, but an elephant is much harder to mistake. Try to cut only thin stems and leaves. Trimming bushes and round ball bushes is a task many dislike. Try to keep the shape as simple as possible and choose an animal with distinctive features so it’s clearer what it is. Also check the shape from a distance at regular intervals, to make sure the shape is in proportion. It probably don’t have any leaves left. Trim the sides of the plant into shape if needed. Use this solution in between trimming each shrub to avoid the spread of diseases. To start cutting your topiary shape, first use the long handled sheers to create the initial ‘rough cut shape’, from your chosen plant. Topiary should be maintained with regular trimming every three months from spring until fall. Wrap the tip around to the length to form a circle in the approximate... 2. Shorten both sprouts by one fourth up to one third. Tools for trimming topiary include long-handled shears for cutting rough shapes and hand shears for cutting fine detailed shapes.