We are looking for pruning advice to discourage overgrown brush on our dirt road.


Our neighborhood is accessed by a dirt road about 1/2 mile in length that is densely flanked by old woody overgrown brush, branches of which reach in toward the road bed and can scratch vehicles coming and going. We are looking for advice on hard pruning to discourage growth, how much, what time of the year? Anything that would reduce the number of times we have to go in and cut.


Lynne M. Holland, Community Education Assistant, Androscoggin-Sagadahoc Counties

Without knowing what kind of brush you are dealing with it is difficult to get to specific.  There are, however, some “hard and fast rules” about pruning that might guide you.

  1. Thinning cuts, those cuts that are all the way to the ground or a whole branch of the shrub will shape the plant.
  2. Heading cuts, those cuts that just cut a part of the plant will encourage dense growth. Something it sounds like you don’t need.
  3. Winter and early spring before the plant leafs out is the best time to cut as you can see the whole plant structure.
  4. Cutting more than a third of the plant may hold back the plants growth.
  5. Removing crossing and dead branches is always a good place to start.

If you have any additional questions please let me know.