Each plant has a genetic destiny. Its ultimate size is built into its DNA, and you can't do a thing to change it. Based on a rigorous scientific survey — one that involved walking around my neighborhood looking at all the plants that want to be much bigger than the spaces they're in — I estimate that 40 percent of all gardening work consists of cutting things back. This is madness. And of course, it's also nonsustainable, because it requires fossil fuels to run the hedge trimmers and truck the decapitated plant parts to the landfill. Fortunately, you can employ a simple solution.
Check the mature height and width of the plant in any good gardening book or on a good gardening Web site. Or see what the tag that comes with the plant says. And believe it. Make sure to place each and every plant so that it has room to grow — make sure it's far enough from other plants, paved surfaces, and structures. (Check out Chapter 16 for more information on giving plants the room they need.) That way, you'll never have to prune your plants.
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