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Garth Ruffner Landscape Architect


Most commercially maintained vegetation in our area is pruned excessively.  Except for hedges, the goal should generally be healthy, natural looking plants.

Highland Crossing Landscaping in Roseville, California

Highland Crossing

Planting design with more than one species is usually intended to include multiple heights, that step back from the viewer like a retail display.  Good pruning subtly enhances this effect while poor pruning eliminates it.

UC Davis Medical Center in Elk Grove, California

UC Davis Medical Group

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Pruning Young Trees   (Spanish)





Plants with a native character are at their best with very little pruning and no shearing.

Landscaping at Raley's, Folsom, California

Raley’s at the Parkway, Folsom

Allowing plants to fully cover a planter shades out weeds, minimizes damage from foot traffic and reduces water use.


Regular, light pruning to keep foliage off pavement is far more effective than sporadic assaults.

Shearing wastes hours of maintenance and does long term damage.  Most plants respond to shearing with rapid, awkwardly sprouting growth, which must then be cut back, causing more rampant growth. Dead twigs build up that  prevent the plant from being pruned back to it’s previous size, resulting in a larger size than properly pruned plants.

Bradshaw Plaza Renovation in Sacramento County

Bradshaw Plaza (Prior to Renovation)

Plants with blades or strap-like leaves (such as: Agapanthus, Flax, Fortnight Lilies and Ornamental Grasses) should never (ever) be pruned into topiary shapes.  If such a plant is damaged and/or new growth must be encouraged, it should be cut flat 2-4 inches above the ground.

Open Cutting Back Ornamental Grasses Page

Mutilated Deer Grass “Topiary”

Granite Bay Pavilions Landscaping in Roseville, California

Granite Bay Pavilions

Monitoring Pruning Operations

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