When thinking about a late summer or fall cleanup to the garden I feel like I should offer some advice. Opt for experience over price. Experience does matter in our field.
I had a bad feeling about a call that came in this week from one of our former clients. I get this often have when a client opts for a less expensive company and calls a few months or a year later. Their "camelias and rhododendrons have been butchered," Could I please hurry out and see what might be done, was the frantic request. They were putting the place on the market next month.
Now, after so many years in the field, I've learned that there is a certain amount of hyperbole that goes on when shocking pruning is done. In this case, however, the word "butchered" was pretty close to accurate. Actually that might be doing a dis-service to the art of meat rendering.
I drove to the site this week and took a look. In short, the Rhody and the Camelia may not survive the midsummer hacking. There would be a better survival chance if there was some kind of watering there, but in this case, no such luck. I've advised a few more corrective cuts on these shrubs and many more on the site but not too much more. We'll let them recover, put on some new growth and then next year after bloom-- after the time that blooming might occur -- more corrective pruning and assessment can be done.
The client would have spent less and had a sale-able landscape all year rather than now needing to spend what they already did to get some very unpleasant results and then more later to correct what ills were done.
The cheaper price very often leads to problems down the road that can surely leave a mess of butchered plants in its wake.