Tools & Tips: Pruning, without Getting Carried Away

From on September 04, 2008 in Landscaping

pruned tree Fall is coming and with it, the chores of preparing for winter. Although we welcome the reprieve from all of the mowing, watering, and pruning, we’ve got to make a few final steps before we can sit back and relax for the winter. Just as the animals scurry around preparing their winter homes, we wrap pipes, rake leaves, and give our trees and plants one final pruning.

Old stereotypes abound about men and their over-enthusiastic pruning; and considering how carried away my husband gets, I tend to see the truth in some of them. If I can manage to catch him before the tree is trimmed practically to the trunk, I point out that there are some guidelines for proper pruning besides “if I clean it up now, it will grow back so much bushier.” Here are a few helpful pruning tips that will encourage your plants to be as healthy as possible.

  • Before pruning, make sure it is a safe season. Pruning can affect your plants’ longevity and fruitfulness as they undergo cycles of seasonal growth.
  • Aim for branches smaller than 5 cm in diameter. Prune anything larger as sparingly as possible.
  • To obtain a well-formed tree, encourage the branches that are evenly spaced on the trunk of the tree, removing any that rub or interfere with the growth of the desirable branches.
  • Shrubs should be thinned occasionally, hedges trimmed to maintain a desirable shape, and evergreens pruned lightly and often to encourage thicker growth.

Before attempting any pruning this year, try to research what times and methods are best for your specific plants and trees. A skilled landscaping contractor will be knowledgeable about what is best as well.

Additional Resources:

Planting Trees and Shrubs
DIY Pruning Guidelines