Have you ever tried to trim a topiary?  If you are following existing lines, it ususally isn't too trickly but if you are aiming to turn a cone into a spiral, it can quickly go off the rails.  Topiary trimming is tricky and an overly zealous Edward Scissorhands inspired gardener can easily trim too much - causing a plant to take years to recover. But I have a trick for you - the ‘tape trick’ will help you get a perfect spiral every time.

STEP 1

Select a shrub or plant that is tall and full and has a long straight central stem. Evergreens such as boxwood or privet work well as do various junipers, yew, hollies and arborvitea. Trim the shrub to make a clean and neat cone.

STEP 2

Once you have a cone, start at the base and wrap masking tape around the plant all the way up to the tip to create a spiral that you are happy with. Don’t do too many twists. If you are trimming a set of plants, use the tape to help you match the spirals before you cut.

STEP 3

Following the line of the tape, trim back the foliage a few inches above and a few inches below the line. Taper the trim so that the longest branches remain under the tape.

STEP 4

Step back frequently to take a look at your progress and make adjustments.

STEP 5

Be patient—this will take time. When you are done, the plant will need to recover. More trimmings and giving the plant time to grow into the gaps will eventually give you a perfect twist.

 

Image: homestudio / 123RF Stock Photo

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