For the Love of Gardening
What works & What doesn't...
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 (read tree, shrub, bush, rose etc) healthier and also 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 for photosynthesize: that can lower its defence mechanisms and leave it open to insects and disease. It also creates a loss of nutrients to the roots...
It is better to remove small amounts of live foliage more often than a lot at once.
For recently planted trees and shrubs, leave it alone for its first year. They need as much leaf tissue as possible. The nutrients and growth regulators (carbohydrates) are in the leaves and work together to help the roots grow and strengthen.
So...You need to know exactly what you are trying to achieve... you need to know what the plant is supposed to look like; its habit (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 a good thing... but not a good reason to start clipping and snipping at random.
Nor can we prune with the idea to manage nature and control the size and shape of plant beyond its own natural habit.
Some cities and towns are quite savage when it comes to chopping parts from trees to fit urban needs for power.
THEN WHAT ARE THE RIGHT REASONS?
Pruning must be specific to the plant and its purpose - or 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 be needed to 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 - you want it to have a strong and sturdy framework of branches with good proportions and this is 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