What to Do with Prunings

Here’s an idea for what to do with the trimmings you get when pruning your shrubs.

Save thin stems to use as stakes for perennials and annuals that need support. Use them the same way you would use storebought stakes.

A handful of tall stems can be also used to make a teepee support for climbing annuals, such as sweet peas and black-eyed Susan vine (Thunbergia alata). Secure the stems in the ground and tie them together at the top. Tie heavy-duty twine or flexible willow trimmings around the stems at intervals to provide steps for the vines to climb. Trimmings that work well for a teepee include those of fast-growing shrubs that benefit from being cut nearly to the ground each winter—a process known as coppicing. Shrubs to coppice include Japanese spiraea (Spiraea japonica), elderberries (Sambucus spp.), willows (Salix spp.)*, shrubby dogwoods (Cornus spp.) and smokebush (Cotinus spp.).

*Willows, in particular, will easily root if stuck in the ground , so only use dead wood. You might try sticking live willow cuttings top-end down to discourage rooting, but willows have been reported to form roots even from stems planted upside down.

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Get great ideas for reusing items in the garden, growing your own food, making many essentials at home, keeping chickens and much more with Homesteading.

Get advice on staking perennials and much more in The Well-Tended Perennial Garden (Expanded Edition).

Upgrade your pruners for cleaner cuts and a more comfortable grip: Clarington Forge’s Premier Bypass Pruners.

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