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Hang in and first, let's see, what it is, 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 in the midst of a growing cycle, taking too much foliage, the tree or shrub will not be able to get what it needs from the sun through its ability to photosynthesize: This can lower its defence mechanisms (weaken it) and leave it open to insects and, or disease.
Reducing leaf cover also creates a loss of nutrients to the roots..It's the circle of life... leaves to roots.
It is better to remove small amounts of live foliage a little more often than to take more than a third at one time.
DON'T PRUNE newly planted trees and shrubs the first year.
Roots establish first, then the plant can concentrate on more leaf tissue to gain nutrients from the sun. The nutrients that regulate growth (carbohydrates or sugars) are in the leaves and help the roots grow and strengthen.
So...You need to know exactly why you are pruning and what you are trying to achieve...
What is the plant is supposed to look like? its habit and the way it wants to grow.
Hedges are often pruned or trimmed for a more formal or 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?
WHY DO WE PRUNE?
NOT because our pruners are sharp.
NOR should we prune to manage or control the size and shape of plant beyond its own natural habit.
If you want a small tree or shrub, plant one.
Don't think you can prune a tree to keep it small when it wants to grow tall and wide... Know what you are planting.
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 needs -
Pruning can balance the growth of your tree or shrub
Pruning encourages new growth and the production of fruit or blooms
Pruning can remedy a problem, like a broken branch or one rubbing against another....
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.
WE PRUNE JUST ABOUT ANY PLANT.....
PERENNIAL PLANTS (even annuals)
And what about tools?
Some of my favourite resources:
Book: "The Pruner's Bible" - Steve Bradly
Article: " All About Pruning" - Dr. Tommy Cairns-The American Rose Soc.www.rose.org