When done properly, pruning can be a rewarding gardening skill. It helps to maintain plant health, improve a desired plant form or special garden forms and encourage the development of flowers, fruit and new growth.
Pruning can also help to reduce dead or diseased stems and branches. But the most important thing is to know when and how to prune.
Know Your Goals
Knowing your goals is a critical component of pruning. Pruning without a clear plan can cause unintended consequences, like unnecessary injury or irreversible damage to your trees and shrubs.
Understanding your plant’s goal can help you make the right decision when tackling any type of cutting job, from shaping to training to fine-tuning to relocating branches. It can also save you time and money in the long run.
The purpose of pruning is to enhance the look, function, and health of your plants. When properly done, it can improve air flow and reduce the risk of disease and rot in your landscape.
A properly pruned tree will also increase your property value. It will look beautiful and add a touch of sophistication to your landscape.
Know Your Tools
Pruning is an essential part of keeping your garden healthy and beautiful. It can be a bit intimidating, but knowing your tools can make it easier for you to get the job done and prevent unnecessary harm to your plants.
When selecting your pruning tools, take a few factors into account: How big are the branches you need to cut? How tough are they to cut (a heavy branch may require a ratchet pruner, or a saw) and how high can you reach them?
Then, make a selection that will give you the best performance for the task at hand. You want your cutting tools to be sharp enough to make clean cuts, but not so sharp that you need to re-sharpen them right away.
It’s also important to disinfect your tools after each use, to avoid spreading disease from one plant to another. A simple solution of water and a disinfectant like Lysol is all you need to kill most germs on your blades.
Know Your Tree
Pruning is a regular practice that helps maintain the health of your trees and shrubs. It can help encourage flowers and fruit production, improve airflow, stimulate new growth, remove dead or damaged branches and shape your tree for aesthetics.
To ensure the best possible outcome, you must know your tree. This includes knowing what types of pruning cuts you should make and how to do them correctly.
Heading and thinning cuts should be made on young branches before they reach one year old, to discourage water sprouts and suckers. Never make heading cuts on a mature branch, as this will compromise the structure of the tree and expose large areas of bare wood to disease and insect infestation.
When cutting large limbs, use the three-cut method to avoid tearing bark. First, cut about 12 inches from the stem collar on the underside of the limb; next, make another cut parallel to and about 1 inch beyond the first.
Know Your Safety
Pruning is a necessary part of many landscaping and agricultural operations. But it can also be dangerous if done improperly.
One of the biggest hazards of pruning is from the tools used for the task. Workers can avoid cutting injuries by learning how to properly handle and store these tools, wearing protective gloves, and practicing safe tool handling techniques.
Another hazard is from falling branches or debris. When working around large trees, it’s important to wear a hard hat and impact-resistant safety goggles.
Finally, tree pruners should take note of the height and location of electrical lines and avoid touching them with foliage or tools when possible.
When pruning, it’s important to consider removing dead, diseased or weak limbs. These limbs can fall without warning and cause serious injury or damage to a house or other property below the tree.