Gardener pruning peonies in garden
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The 1 Foot Pruning Rule Has Some Potential Drawbacks
The 1-foot pruning rule is a good baseline for some trimming projects, but for others, it can harm your plants, ruin your aesthetics, and fail to solve the root of your problem.
If a large bush or tree grows too close to your home, its roots can damage your foundation and affect your drainage, causing mold or rot, so you need to have it removed completely.
Too many plants squeezed into one area will create a landscaping mess that the 1-foot rule cannot fix. Instead, either remove some growth or prune each one back by ⅓ yearly.
Some plants, like azaleas, bloom on old wood, so cutting them down to 1 foot would remove all new growth. As such, only branches that are at least two years old should be trimmed.
In cases of severe damage, however, the rule can encourage new growth. Trim off dead portions until the plant is 1 foot off the ground, then wait to see if it recovers on its own.
You can also use the 1-foot rule when shaping short bushes to achieve your desired style and prevent unsightly dead spots from forming in the lower parts of the bush as it grows.