Pruning plays an essential role in maximizing growth, strength and beauty of landscape greenery. Correct pruning techniques vary for different plant species and it is important to choose the proper time and method for trimming your plants.
Pruning Technique for Trees
Why Prune? Pruning of trees, vines, hedges and other plants controls size and direction of growth. Trimming diseased or damaged sections will improve a plants health and diminish the risk of infecting the entire plant. Correct pruning also increases the size of flower or fruit production.
Time the Pruning:
Ideal pruning times vary for individual plant types. Although there are some general guidelines, check with your local landscape professional to determine the proper time to trim your greenery. Usually, late winter or early spring is correct for pruning woody plants: the new growth has not begun, yet the winter food reserves are low enough that trimming branches does not stifle the growth process.
Tools and Practices:
The first step in pruning is to determine if the task is safe. Pruning high branches, large branches, near buildings or power lines is dangerous and often better left to professionals. For smaller pruning tasks, hand held pruners, lopping shears and even a small curved saw are the necessary tools. (For geometrically-shaped hedges, electric hedge clippers are a fast and easy to use.) Cuts on branches or stems should be made on a moderate angle: too great an angle exposes a large, oblong wound that takes longer to heal and is more susceptible to infection. When trimming side branches on trees, make the cuts above the branch collar (the slightly swollen area where the branch attaches to the trunk). This also speeds the healing process.
Several different effects can be achieved through pruning. Thinning makes a plant stronger with fewer but stronger branches or stems. Heading, shearing, and pinching all create a thick outer layer of foliage, but weaker, smaller outer branches. The proper cutting depends upon the direction of growth desired. Regardless of the trimming cycle used, correct pruning channels food and nutrients to create stronger, healthier plants.