Pruning Tips For Trees And Shrubs

Some helpful information on how and why to prune. Also includes information on tools to use when pruning.

Pruning is removing unnecessary branches and areas of trees and shrubs to produce a variety of results. The main reasons to prune is for the look and health of the tree or shrub. Branches or parts of branches may be cut off to help it grow in a pleasing shape or fit into its surroundings in a more pleasing manor. The same may be done to promote healthier growth of new branches or to get rid of dead areas within the tree or shrub. For some trees and shrubs that produce flowers, fruit or berries, pruning is a way to ensure that production is maximized. Some see pruning as an art form, but it need not be so complex. Pruning is quite easy to do when you have a general idea of how to go about it. That starts with getting to know more about how and why to prune.

Tools are an important part of the pruning process. There are a few tools that are most commonly used when pruning trees and shrubs. A pruning knife is a small knife that has a fold up blade. It is handy to carry in your pocket and can be brought out whenever needed. A pruning knife is best used for cutting branches in small diameter. The next size up tool would be a hand pruner. Hand pruners are also small enough to carry on you and can cut through a little thicker branch than the knife. Hand pruners are the most commonly used tool in pruning. For pruning in large trees with more mature branches, loppers are the tool to use. Loppers are like a hand pruner, but with a pair of larger handles for reaching farther. Loppers also help if you need to get to an inside branch on a large shrub. A hand saw can also be used when working with tougher branches. Hand saws come in various forms and you should choose the one that would work best for your needs. Using the correct tool will help in preventing damage to the tree or shrub.

The first reason for pruning is to help in how the plant looks. Shaping young trees or shrubs usually involves removal of the terminal bud. The terminal bud is the bud at the very end of a branch and prevents the other buds on the branch from growing. Remove the terminal bud to allow the other buds on the branch to grow for a fuller looking tree or shrub. Trimming involves removal of branches to improve the overall shape and look of the tree or shrub. When a shrub grows fuller on top than on bottom, removal of some upper branches allows more light to the bottom branches making them grow fuller. When pruning to improve or maintain the look of a tree or shrub pay attention to the next bud after where you cut. Make sure it facing the direction you would like it to grow. Cut out branches that are growing in wrong directions or look out of place when pruning for looks.

The other main reason for pruning is for the health of the tree or shrub. When removing dead growth it needs to be cut back so all of the dead area is removed. If you are unsure of what is dead, scrap the bark lightly, if you see any green it means it is alive. Prune to help an overgrown tree or shrub or one that is no longer producing a good amount of leaves, fruit, berries or flowers. When pruning an overgrown tree or shrub you will need to cut back some of the main branches that are older and tougher. If the tree or shrub is really overgrown this may need to be done in a process over a few years so not to cause too much shock to the tree or shrub. Once the newer branches are left the tree or shrub should start producing good again. The health of the tree or shrub is very important so this is probably the number one reason to prune and should be done whenever it is needed.

Pruning is quite simple and is easy to do. Be prepared with the correct tools and have a plan. Stand back and look over the tree or shrub to be pruned and decide what you will cut before starting. Follow the guidelines given here to get an idea of what pruning you need to do. Keep in mind that starting out with a little pruning is best because you can always go back and remove more, but remove too much at first and there is no quick fix. Take your time and you should be able to pruning jobs around your yard with ease.

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