Topiaries Gone Wild!

Topiaries are not a maintenance free plant! I see many topiary plants in front of houses that are not maintained and after a few years, they revert to the plant’s original growth form, only not so pretty.

Topiaries are woody plants that are pruned to take on a specific shape. The most common form that is seen is the “corkscrew,” but plants have been shaped into all kinds of objects. It is usually associate with more formal garden settings and is often used at the entrance to a house as an accent. Topiaries are expensive to purchase because of the labor and time to develop one. On top of the expense to purchase comes the annual (or more) maintenance that must be performed to keep the topiary looking as good as it did when it came from the nursery.

This juniper topiary has not been maintained and is now at the point where it may be too late to re-establish the shape without creating dead areas in the plant.  The tree is very healthy and vigorous and unfortunately, is beginning to revert to its natural growth form.

Topiaries are developed from many types of plants.  Juniper is a very commonly used plant in North Texas, but so are various species of holly (including Yaupon), boxwood, and privet.  The common denominator is that they all are compact, dense foliage plants that respond to pruning well.  AND, they all have to be maintained every year.  If you don’t want a high maintenance plant, it is best not to install a topiary.

Don’t let your topiary go wild!  Just a little effort every year will keep the plant in good shape.  If you aren’t able to maintain it yearly, Tree Shepherds provides this service on an annual basis.

Scott Geer

Scott Geer

Scott Geer has a master's degree in forestry from Stephen F. Austin State University and is an ISA Board Certified Master Arborist.® He is also a graduate of the American Society of Consulting Arborists Academy.