4 Tips for Pruning Trees and Shrubs

1. Use clean equipment.

Look at the main three pieces of equipment you will need for pruning. In understanding your equipment and preparing to clean it, take a moment and look at your hand pruner, lopper or pruning saw closely. Open and close the device and see how the device “works”. Clean the blade of the device after use with Isopropyl alcohol. As you will be using the equipment to prune trees and shrubs, the device picks up resin, juices, and sap from the plant. These “juices” may contain disease or harmful pathogens that can spread from plant to plant.

2. Proper time of year.

Proper time of year depends on the tree or shrub. In general, spring blooming plants should be pruned after they bloom in the spring the year before. Fall blooming plants should be pruned during the winter months. During the growing season remember when pruning a spring blooming tree or shrub, that you are pruning for shape and health of plant. In other words, the plant is actually creating those beautiful blooms for next spring. Around the second half of July pruning should cease, until around mid-September. Doing this will prevent new growth as cold weather approaches. After mid-September resume pruning. But, remember that the way you prune a tree or shrub in say the fall is the way it will look all winter, as the plant will grow little before cold sets in. Do hard pruning in winter months.

3. Prune for shape

Before pruning decide if an informal or formal look is desire for the plant. An informal look may only require pruning once a year or a few light prunings. A formal look will require a more scheduled, rigorous approach. Formal looking hedges or shrubs that have small or medium sized leaves can have a more uniform with routine “shearing”, requiring a monthly pruning during the growing season.

4.What does one prune from a tree or shrub?

Prune out any dead wood, crossing, and rubbing branches. Pruning is actually an act of caring for the plant. Trees and shrubs need proper care to make it perform to their potential. This means that you should use proper pruning techniques. Use the proper device for the size cut to be performed. With hand pruners only cut branches that are quite small like up to a 1/2″. The hand loppers prune branches from 1/2″ up to about 1 1/2″ depending on the angle and hardness of wood. The pruning saw is designed to prune branches form 1 1/2″ up to about 3″ or 4″ inches. Remember that branches are heavy, any time of year, so, in pruning, the weight of the branch will have an effect on the cut, as you prune. To prune medium sized branches corrrectly, use a cross-drop pruning technique. Dead wood will appear as possibly leafless branches, brittle, rotten, distorted tips, disease infected. Collect and haul away trimmings. Next, prune any branches that cross and rub each other.

These are just 4 pruning tips for trees and shrubs that will make you a better more informed gardener