Hang in and let's see why we prune and how.
WHAT IS PRUNING?
Pruning is really just the cutting away of specific branches in order to make the plant ( tree, shrub, bush, rose etc) healthier or to manipulate the plant's growth.
A few words of caution:
If you over-prune, and take too much foliage, the tree or shrub will decrease its ability to photosynthesize: which can lower its defence mechanisms, leaving it open to insects and disease.
It also creates a loss of nutrients to the roots...the circle of life... leaves to roots.
It is better to remove small amounts of live foliage more often than a lot at once.
For recently planted trees and shrubs, don't prune its first year. Plants and trees need as much leaf tissue as possible. The nutrients and growth regulators (carbohydrates or sugars) are in the leaves and work together to help the roots grow and strengthen.
So...You need to know exactly why you are pruning and what you are trying to achieve...
Know what the plant is supposed to look like - in other words, its habit or the way it wants to grow.
Hedges are pruned (well, often trimmed) to have a formal or an ornamental look.
Fruit trees are pruned to keep them healthy and productive.
Flowering Shrubs and bushes like roses, are pruned not only for health, but for blooms and fullness.
CAN WE PRUNE FOR THE WRONG REASONS?
Having a pair of sharp pruners is not a good reason to start clipping and snipping at random.
Nor should we prune to manage nature and control the size and shape of plant beyond its own natural habit.
Don't plant a tall tree and think you can keep it short by pruning it....
Some cities and towns are quite savage when it comes to chopping parts from trees to fit into unplanned urban needs for power lines.
WHAT ARE THE RIGHT REASONS?
Pruning must be specific to the plant and its purpose - the reason you have it in your garden -
Pruning will balance the growth of your tree or shrub
Pruning encourages new growth and the production of fruit or blooms
Pruning might remedy a problem, like a broken branch or one rubbing against another....
Or for something called Formative pruning. This is when the plant is young to have a strong and sturdy framework of branches with good proportions and done when the plant or tree is young.
We cannot prune a plant with an upright habit into a spreading ground cover. Choosing the right tree for your garden is one of the most important decisions you can make.
WHAT CAN WE PRUNE? JUST ABOUT ANY PLANT.....
PERENNIAL PLANTS (and annuals)
And what about tools?
Some of my favourite resourses:
Book: "The Pruner's Bible" - Steve Bradly
Article: " All About Pruning" - Dr. Tommy Cairns-The American Rose Soc.www.rose.org