Pruning is a common practice. Experienced gardeners frequently encourage the fast growth of new shoots to ensure strong, continuous growth in their plants. Pruning done with garden pruning shears also improves plant shape and blossoming (in the case of flowering plants), as well as revitalizes aged or neglected shoots. Both art and science go into tree and shrub pruning. From a creative standpoint, a keen eye is required to assess a plant and decide what, if anything, needs to be done to give it the ideal appearance. Knowing the when, where, and how to prune a plant is equally, if not more, crucial from a scientific standpoint. To produce high-quality outcomes, a gardener does not need to be an artist or a scientist.
Garden Pruning Done the Right Way
The natural form of a plant exhibits the art of pruning as well. Gardeners are better able to comprehend how the plant should appear when they are familiar with the natural form of the plants in their landscape. Whether a gardener chooses to use their garden plants to make a hedge or topiary depends on their personal preferences and goals. Most gardeners lack the time or patience to maintain a well-trimmed hedge or topiary. However, a beautiful and low-maintenance landscape will result from letting plants preserve their natural forms and only performing structural and emergency pruning.
When cutting branches off a tree, there are three potential scenarios.
- When a collar is present, cut to the edge of the collar.
- If there isn’t a collar visible, start where the branch’s top abruptly curves toward the trunk and cut outside an illustrative line drawn perpendicular to the trunk.
- If there is any remaining bark at the union where the branch and trunk actually unite, remove it with the last pruning cut.
General Pruning Guidelines for All Plants
- If you choose the proper cultivar, you won’t need to prune as much or as frequently.
- Early in the plant’s life, cut off dead branches, suckers, crossing branches, and other flimsy stems that do not add to the general form.
- Avoid heavy pruning while it’s hot and dry. Wait until the following growing season to check what died from water stress after a prolonged drought. This will assist you in preventing the needless removal of living timber.
- The “one-third rule” offers a general framework. Generally speaking, you shouldn’t cut off more than a third of a plant’s total crown in any one year. In particular, this is valid for mature or older trees. Furthermore, while pruning, cut a terminal (bud or branch) back to a lateral (bud or branch) that is at least one-third to one-half the diameter of the branch you are cutting.
- To prevent deep wounds, start creating strong structures in trees when the plants are young. Pruning should be done at planting if you know you won’t be able to tend to the plant for a year or two. Although it is not the recommended approach, this is the greatest technique to fix form issues and generate minor incisions as opposed to delaying pruning for years.
So, When Is the Right Time to Prune with Garden Pruning Shears?
To reap the most benefits, you must be aware of the best time to prune with garden pruning shears or other garden tools. The type of plant, the intended results of the trimming, and the time of year all play a role in when to prune. Pruning should typically be done as soon as the season’s growth is over. As most plants go dormant in the winter and late fall, pruning during these times results in rapid growth after dormancy. Fall is not the season to prune plants since the cut can become infected with fungus easily and takes a long time to cure. For the best display in the late winter or early spring to promote blossoming, flowering plants typically need to be pruned after blooming. Sucker and foliage growth is often inhibited by summer pruning. Hence, the removal of dead branches and light pruning, however, can be done at any time of the year.
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