Pruning Instructions

Spring-blooming scrubs Spring-flowering plants can be pruned immediately after flowering to avoid reducing floral display and to promote new growth. On plants where the fruit is as important as the flowers, prolong long pruning until after fruiting. Pinch out tips to produce a more compact plant. Don't prune if the plant looks good. Flowering may be nondescript on some species, but prune to produce ornamental fruit. Flowers on old wood. Remove about one-third of the older stems at...

Severe Renewal Pruning

If shrubs have become overgrown or leggy, severe renewal pruning may be the only technique to restore a full vigorous growth habit. In late winter, cut all branches to within several inches of the ground. Buds will break dormancy as the weather warms up. Because the plant already has an established root system, the growth is generally stronger and faster than that of newly planted shrubs. Tip pruning of the new shoots is necessary to enhance lateral bud growth. Many hollies respond favorably to...

Pruning to Control Insect and Disease

Pruning ornamental plants to control insects and diseases is nothing new. In the early 1800s, removing infested branches was a common pest-control recommendation. Success in eradicating the pest was variable, because the life cycles of the pests were not known. When pruning to remove an infection or insect infestation, remove all the affected area. This may prevent the further progress of branch dieback or save a plant's life. Sterilizing pruning equipment between cuts prevents spreading...

Shearing and Hedges

Renewal Pruning Tools

A formal hedge provides privacy to the garden and serves as an aesthetic backdrop for colorful plants. However, hedges do require regular maintenance to maintain the optimal size and shape. Improper pruning can be problematic and hides a plant's natural beauty. Too often plants are pruned into balls or blocks. The plants lose their natural beauty and repeated maintenance is required to maintain the geometric shapes. There are formal gardens where this type of pruning is appropriate, but most...

Mature trees

Pruning Trees Crown Thinning

The pruning of large shade trees by the homeowner should be limited to the branches that can be reached from the ground. If large limbs need to be removed, enlist the professional services of a certified arborist with the proper skills, equipment and insurance. Observe caution when pruning around power or utility lines. Employ a trained arborist for pruning near hazardous areas. Figure 13. Diagram of radial spacing It is not necessary or desirable to cut back the canopy of a tree when...

Pruning Tools

Bonsai Clippers

Only a few tools are needed and it is beneficial to use good ones. Tools should be sharp and high quality. Smooth cuts heal faster and provide a less favorable site for disease. Don't wiggle pruning tools to cut into a branch that is too large for the tools. Too often incorrect tools are used to prune, which leaves jagged cuts and ruined pruning tools. Take care not to damage the bark around the pruning cut. 1. Hand clippers and shears are recommended for removing...

Young Trees

Tree Pruning Crotch Too Narrow

Young trees may need to be pruned to maintain a central leader. All cuts should be made at the nodes or back to the next limb. Do not remove more than one-third of the living branches. To develop a strong, straight trunk, start early in the life of a tree to remove branches at positions 1, 2 and 3 See Figure 10 . The trunk should be limbed up only one-third to one-half of the height. For instance, if a small tree is 6 feet tall, remove the limbs about 2-3 feet above the soil line. For a more...

Broadleaf and Narrowleaf Evergreens

Shurp Pruning

Conifers, broadleaf and narrow-leaf evergreens may be pruned any time the wood is not frozen. A good time to prune evergreens is in early December so prunings can be used to make holiday decorations. These plants are primarily pruned to increase the density of the foliage or to reduce the size of the plant. Conifers have lateral branches that arise from the trunk in whorls or as random shoots. Preformed latent buds in the terminal determine the number of branches. Few conifers have latent buds...