Is it actually June 11th, can that be possible? Well as it seems the calendar does not lie, and it is in fact already late spring/early summer. The early flowering shrubs and trees like, forsythia & dogwoods in the Northeast have finished their beautiful displays, and they are ready to be pruned back. Regular pruning will help your flowering shrubs and trees stay healthy, and build the strength needed to give us another fantastic showing next season.
We’re going to quickly cover the following:
1. Why should we prune
2. Pruning “techniques”
3. Tools of the “trade”
Why We Prune:
As I stated above pruning is essential to your shrubs and trees health. However, there are many other reasons which are outlined below:
- Maintain or reduce plant size
- Remove undesirable growth
- Remove dead, diseased, or broken branches
- Stimulate flowering and fruiting
- Rejuvenate and restore old plants to vigorous growth
- Prevent damage to life and property
Now that we know why we prune let’s talk about some pruning techniques.
There are 3 basic techniques to pruning:
1. Pinching: Hand pruning technique that’s a good way to control size. Promote more of a “bush” look.
2. Thinning: Removes some branches back to a main branch, trunk, or soil line. Be careful not to cut too close to the “main” limb as you run the risk infection.
3. Heading Back: Shortening branches back to a good bud or lateral branch. A proper heading back cut should not leave a stub.
Excellent so now we know why we prune, as well as the 3 basic techniques. Now let talk about the tools needed to complete the job…
Tools of the Trade:
These tools can be found at your local hardware store, and of course any big box in your area.
1. Hand Shears: For small branches, and intricate cuts
2. Pole Pruners: For branches out of arms reach
3. Lopping Shears: For larger branches, and less intricate cuts
4. Hedge Shears: For shaping
5. Pruning Saw: For cutting large branches
Now you know the basics of pruning, so no more excuses. As I said regular pruning promotes happy, healthy plants, but for some reason it’s one of the most avoided gardening “task”. Don’t listen to the many myths out there about what pruning can do to your plants, get out there and prune it’ll pay off you’ll see!
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