How to Make a Topiary Form


Topiaries are considered by many as landscaping artwork. Used for centuries for the higher classes, topiary forms can be created by home gardeners when pruning or training a plant. Typically, topiaries are shaped by a wire frame that is filled with moss. A climbing plant grows on top of the form, producing that shape. However, you can make your own topiary forms from dense shrubbery.

Things You'll Need

  • Picture
  • Bypass shears
  • Lopping shears
  • Denatured alcohol
  • Bucket
  • Fertilizer
  • Pick a simple shape for your topiary. Often, first-time topiary gardeners will pick a geometrical shape like a square or circle. Winter is the best time to create a topiary form, because the plant has slowed its growing and will suffer less from pruning shock.

  • Bring a picture of the form your want your shrubbery to take on with you when pruning. Having a picture on hand will help guide your cuts.

  • Make downward 45 degree angled cuts into the shrubbery when creating the form. Cut to half an inch from a healthy outward growing bud with either bypass or lopping shears. Stand back several times to get an overall view.

  • Remove one-third of the plant at at time if you are pruning an intricate form. Cut off any unhealthy branches or any branches that rub against each other.

  • Repeat the process of pruning the topiary in a month after the topiary has recovered. Continue taking off little by little each month until the form has reached its desired shape.

Tips & Warnings

  • Feed your tree with a smaller amount of fertilizer to prolong its form in the late fall.
  • Dip shears in a mixture of 70 percent alcohol and 30 percent water when removing fungal diseased areas.
  • Avoid shearing the plant, because it will cause jagged leaves and branches.

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  • Photo Credit Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images
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