Landscape supervisors have more fun because they often get to escape from routines. For example, today, I spent the entire morning on requests while the crews deep-edged and finessed beds.
Because I’m the extra man in the field, I can handle requests that would otherwise distract site foremen from their weekly plan. And I’m happy to help out. Let’s take a look.
The owners of the cedar hedge (Thuja plicata) below felt boxed-in so they requested a significant 12-18 inch reduction. Armed with sharp new shears and Stihl’s new KM 94 R engine, I bravely attacked the hedge.
The key is establishing the new height and marking it in the hedge. Then the shearing can begin. Luckily, I didn’t run into any huge stems. When you do, use loppers to eliminate them, not your shears.
I managed to catch the owner as she retrieved her newspaper and she was pleased with her “new” hedge. When you reduce cedar hedges drastically you must accept the brown wood look on top. Over time, it won’t look so freaky.
As always, the clean-ups should be as nice as the pruning. In this case, the debris filled four tarps. The last step involved a clean-up blow and putting all patio furniture and pots back to their original places.
This request was nice and quick. It’s common for people to complain about overgrown shrubs by entrances so I grabbed my shears and went to work.
Note that Sarcococca flowers in winter and produces an attractive scent at a time when nothing much is happening in the landscape. So, now at the end of March it’s fine to prune this shrub.
Pro tip: Pruning after flowering is a common rule for most shrubs.
Here, again, the homeowners didn’t like the look of their grasses so I took them down by hand. Yes, it’s slower but using long extendable power shears in tight spots is awkward. The other issue was power cables on the ground.
Pro tip: Don’t rush your tasks. Look around for dangers like outdoor light cables.
The last request involved a dogwood (Cornus) tree. The idea was to reduce the height of the crown and I pulled it off easily. One, I could reach the top branches without a ladder; and, two, because the tree is multi-stemmed reducing the top-most branches still leaves the tree looking natural.
The whole job took maybe ten minutes.
Mornings like this are gold for landscape supervisors. They almost don’t feel like work. Supervisors have more fun!