Pruning 101

Manageable pruning

Pruners

Do you know when to prune and how much? Unless you are a committed gardener with lots of experience over time, you may not know when to prune your plants for optimum growth and display. Without knowing, it´s easy to lop off next years growth. Come April, you´ll puzzle over why your lilac has absolutely no blooms. Chances are good you may have pruned too late in the preceding season and taken all the newly set buds. Oops.

Regardless of what type of plant you're pruning, we'll cover it here eventually.

Pruning Basics

Pruning your trees and shrubs can look daunting at first glance. There are dozens of books on pruning, so which to choose? We want to take a little of the mystery out of pruning. As the result of some experience over the years, some research, and some classes as well as access to other advanced gardeners and horticulturalists, the following four points are critical:

Pruning
  1. Have a reason to prune.
  2. Train young trees.
  3. Prune to the collar.
  4. Never top your trees.

Why are you pruning?

It's spring and the sap is running and it's time to get out into the yard and DO something, right? Did you get a spiffy new electric hedge trimmer or pole saw that is just waiting to be blooded?

There are many good reasons for pruning. Pruning to remove dead or diseased growth improves both the health, vigor, and appearance of your shrubs and trees. Prune to train for structure and shape, for display and fruiting, or just to rejuvenate an older plant. But pruning just for the sake of pruning is not a good idea.

You need to know your plant and what it's requirements for pruning are. Does it need to be pruned when it's dormant in the winter or does it need to be pruned immediately after it blooms? Does it need to be pruned at all?

Trim your Fruit Trees or Shrubs.

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