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Shrub pruning is generally accomplished by using one of two methods, informal and formal. To determine which method is used, the type of plant material and client preference should be taken into consideration. Some plants are more conducive to one method over the other and a knowledgeable contractor will make the proper recommendations. Cost could be a factor. It is sometimes more labor intensive to maintain an informal hedge than a formal one. For both types of pruning the bottom or “skirt” portion of the plant should never be trimmed up too high.

There are situations where the customer prefers informal pruning, but due to the project design, it is almost impossible. For example, in many of the newer condominium projects the planter areas are very small. These planters are then planted with shrub material that will outgrow the planter and have to be sheared just to keep them off the walks and driveways. In this case, informal pruning may require more space than the planter provides and may not be practical.