The type of plant material (e.g., shrubs) in the beds can define the type of landscape you want to own and care for. A property can have healthy and attractive turfgrass, but without proper planting material to bring variety and liveliness around the house a vital element of good landscaping will be missing.
Caring for your investment is equally as important. Plants needs food and water just as much as humans do, and through plant fertilization and proper watering all plant material can survive in its proper place. Dead growth needs to be pruned away in order to provide room for new, healthy growth to take its place (azaleas and hydrangeas are a great example of this).
The most common mistake made when it comes to plant care is over-pruning. This mistake usually occurs when a homeowner becomes obsessed with having a clean, manicured look on their shrubs at all times rather than prioritizing the health of the plant. When shrubs are pruned too often new growth is killed and is prone to disease and fungus. Every time a shrub is pruned, it is being put under stress. Add South Carolina summer heat and humidity to a plant that is over-pruned, and the plant material can be permanently damaged or killed.
Precision recommends that most planting material be pruned three times per calendar year during the growing season: once in May or June, once in July or August, and once in September or October. The last pruning should be a light pruning so as not to endanger the plant by leaving open wounds for the winter frost. Gas-powered hedge trimmers can be used on most planting material: hollies, tea olives, loropetalums, laurels and camellias. Hand pruning is preferable on smaller shrubs or blooming perennials: azaleas, hydrangeas, knockout or drift roses.
Unless a heavy reduction is required to make the plant material fit its own space, no shrub should be pruned continuously “down to brown–” pruning through foliage all the way down to the branches of the plant itself. Remember, not only does it look awful, but it also leaves the plant or shrub open to disease or pest damage.