What Do I Do With Shrubs That Are Overgrown? 

If you’ve ever looked at your yard and noticed a few overgrown shrubs, you may have wondered, “What do I do with these?” There are many options for trimming and pruning your shrubs. These methods include severe pruning, thinning out old wood, and rejuvenation pruning. 

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Rejuvenation pruning 

If you want to prune your shrubs to reshape them and reduce their overall size, you can try rejuvenation pruning. This is a more drastic pruning technique, but it results in an almost immediate change. During the first year after pruning, the shrub may not bloom, but the new growth will be more vigorous. It will also have more colorful stems. 

This technique works best on multi-stemmed, twiggy shrubs. Do not attempt this procedure on plants that have only one main stem, as they are less likely to survive. 

Severe pruning 

Severe pruning for shrubs that are too overgrown should be done at least once a year to maintain the health of the shrub. Dead branches should be pruned off and replaced, especially those at the base of the plant. In some cases, pruning can even save a shrub from a potential disaster. In these cases, experts recommend cutting off about a third of the shrub per year. 

Heavy pruning should be avoided for small, single-stemmed shrubs or those with small evergreens. It should also be avoided for shrubs with poor health, those that have been attacked by pests, or those that are suffering from drought. 

Thinning out old wood 

Thinning out old wood of shrubs is the best way to prevent disease and encourage new growth. The first step is to determine which branches should be removed. It is important not to remove more than a quarter of the stem. Cutting lopsided branches can be done with shears. 

Shrubs should be pruned once or twice a year. Avoid pruning them too hard as this can result in a dense bush, reduced air circulation, and a higher risk of disease. The best time to prune is in spring. If you do it after flowering, you may cut off flower buds and reduce the number of blooms. 


The first step in replacing overgrown shrubs is to remove them from their existing location. The shrubs should be dug out to the ground, and if small, the roots can be removed manually. Larger shrubs, however, will require the use of a stump grinder. Next, replant the shrubs in their correct places, and keep in mind that they should not be planted too close to walls or other structures. Also, make sure that you add some compost to the area where you’re planting the new plants. After planting, water the plants daily to prevent dryness. 

Overgrown shrubs can also be pruned to shape them into trees. Large-growing shrubs are ideal candidates for this type of treatment, and if you’re planning to prune them, be sure to remove the oldest and most vigorous branches to the ground. The interior growth of the shrubs should also be pruned to allow for better air circulation. However, you may need to perform light pruning every three to four years in order to maintain the shape of your shrubs.