Pruning is a task that is difficult, and might make you scratch your head at times, but it is necessary. The voice in your head might be saying “Why is it necessary to cut off perfectly healthy plant growth?” You also may be wondering if you are doing it right.
Picking the Right Tools
- Secateurs – Also referred to as one-handed pruners, these are available in scissor-action where one blade slides along side of a non-moving part or in snap cut form, where two blades come together directly. These are great for snipping small branches.
- Pruning Saw – A small, straight-handled tool featuring a tapered saw blade that is straight or slightly curved, made for taking care of stiff branches with a little bit of heft to them.
- Hedge Shears – These have long, flat blades with a scissor action, often 6 to 8 inches in length. They are best for trimming across bushes
- Lopping Shears – These have similar blades to the secateurs, but have extremely long handles that help to provide the user with some extra leverage for cutting through green or thick branches.
- Bow Saw – These are made for serious work, and are capable of handling tree trunks quite a number of inches in diameter.
- Pole Saw – A specialized tool for getting at hard-to-reach branches, it is essentially a pruning saw on an extendable pole.
The Best Time for Pruning
Heavy pruning is best done in late February and March, before your trees and shrubs start blooming. By trimming off parts of the tree or shrub that you do not want to develop, you allow the tree or shrub to redirect its energy towards the branches and buds you hope to grow. The worst time for pruning is after a tree or shrub has begun to bloom, or at any time the plant is under stress.
The Dos of Pruning
- Do make sure to make a clean, angled cut – it helps the plant to heal better.
- Do remove the branch close to the trunk of the tree.
- Do remove clumping and intertwined branches to free up you shrub.
The Don’ts of Pruning
- Don’t cut too close to a young bud, it can cause the buds to be dry and fail to sprout.
- Don’t just trim the tips of the branches, it is inefficient.
- Don’t cut a branch flush with the trunk of a tree, as it can lead to decay.
- Don’t remove for than one-third of the bulk of a plant at any
So don’t be afraid of pruning – it’s actually good for your shrubs and trees, and will help encourage growth and a healthy spring and summer season.
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