Create a Simple Topiary

Topiary lends structure and formality to any planting design and makes a useful focal point. All you need to bring an overgrown specimen back into shape, or to make a cone from scratch, are some basic tools, patience and a good eye.

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Assess Shape From Top

When you have nearly finished, look down at the central stem to check that the outline of the cone is straight and even. Assess the shape all the way around and trim accordingly.

Assess Shape of Topiary from the TopEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Routine Care

Established topiary should be pruned once or twice a year in midsummer and early autumn. Never clip on hot, sunny days to prevent the newly exposed foliage from being scorched.

Prune Established Topiaries Twice a YearEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Tool Choices

Creating topiary shapes is much easier if you have the right tools; always keep the blades sharp and clean. Although you can use garden shears to trim cones and simple shapes, long-handled shears are a better choice because they offer greater control. For more intricate designs, use topiary shears (Image 1).

Top Tip: Clean Cuts
Boxwood blight is a major disease of boxwood. Protect your specimens by cleaning your pruning shears between plants with a spray of household disinfectant (Image 2).

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Excerpted from How to Grow Practically Everything

© 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

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