Pruning Your Landscape
Why Prune? Pruning is Essential for Maintaining Landscape Proportion, Scale, Health & Integrity.
Pruning = Skill + Science
Skill= Shaping Plants, Making Decisions
Science = Growing Habits, Response to Pruning
Artistic Pruning to your Tastes- now and as your landscape changes
Depends upon the biology of plant
Seasons, Weather, Time of Year Avoid Extreme weather!
Techniques have changed from 20-30 years ago- now we understand healing- no sealers
Proper Pruning Benefits
Benefits Plants by Providing Proper Air Flow & Space
Better Access to Resources (Sun, Water, Fertilizer)
May Increase Bloom & Vigor
May Decrease Disease Potential
Proper Habits Benefit the Plant-when, why & how
Keep Your Tools Clean, especially after pruning diseased plants
Proper Planting and Pruning go hand in hand
Can Actually Harm Plants (subject to damage)
Introduce Disease or Insects (dirty tools)
Cause Rot (straight topping)
Over Pruning Can Cause Improper Growing Habits (water sprouts)
Lack of Pruning can be as harmful as Incorrect Pruning
Your Landscape is like an Investment. A well kept and well planted yard has real value- adds about 10-15% to the total value of your property
The Larger the Plant, the more it would Cost to Replace- it may take decades for a Tree to Mature
Choose the Right Plant for the Right Place
Styles = Formal vs Informal
Plant Growth- Budding
3 Types of Buds
Most New Growth from Trees & Shrubs develop from Buds on Branches
Dormant Buds- form during one growth season and remain dormant until the next growing season forming Stems, Leaves or Flowers.
Latent Buds are dormant buds on mature growth that remain for several seasons
Adventitious Buds form where no buds existed
Apical Dominance is a phenomenon where a lateral bud has distance from the terminal bud
Occurs after a few seasons. Also called Central Leader.
Controlled by a hormone Auxin, produced in the terminal bud. While active, it signals other hormones to remain dormant. Can have several or single leader.
Buds further away (from the terminal bud) receive weaker and fewer signals with the lower released from dormancy & grow.
How we prune determines the growth pattern. This are the basic types of pruning techniques depending upon where the pruning cuts are made in relation to where the dormant buds & side branches are on the plant.
Taking larger branches off of trees without stripping the bark can be tricky unless you follow this method. This is what most people should understand about pruning large branches & incorporate into their pruning practices.
Three cuts- 2 smaller, opposite it each other apart by a few inches- this takes off the tension allowing for a clean break. The last cut is the real cut.
Last final cut should not be too close to the collar by the trunk. Leave a bit of room for proper healing. Avoid leaving a stub.
Pruning tools, many brands to choose from. How much do you want to spend? I like “Fiskers”
Your Preference-I like electric hedge trimmers & chainsaw vs gas (are lighter in weight).
Basic: Hand Pruners, Lopping Shears, Hedge Shears, Hand Saw, Chainsaw, Pole Pruner (with extension)
Gloves, Safety Glasses, Ladder (use caution)Tarp.
Keep Tools Clean and good condition.
Pruning Safety Practices Should Always be Employed
Wear Protective Equipment- Gloves, Safety Glasses, Ear Plugs (chainsaw use), Long Sleeves & Pants, Hardhat (large trees)
Ladders: Avoid Using whenever possible. If you do, make sure someone else is there stabilizing the ladder. Use Extreme Caution, Falling Off Ladders Hurts.
Use Common Sense When Using Sharp Tools, Chainsaws, etc.
Avoid Pruning Near Utility / Power Lines
Hire a Professional when Needed, to do the work or for advice.
When to Prune is crucial to maintaining healthy plants. Also technique varies by plant group.
late Winter / Early Spring- for most plants. Hard Pruning should be done when plants are dormant.
General Rule: no more than 1/3 of plant at a time, otherwise you get problems
Growing Season- to shape, deadhead
Avoid pruning the first flush of new growth in spring. This is energy storage time for plants and you can reduce vigor.
Pruning Inside & Out Guide. Look up your plants for detailed info about specialized pruning needs for all of your plants but this is a good guide to help you start.
It is better to prune Less More Often than More Less Often.
Trees- Deciduous- After blooming or when dormant & Evergreen- during the growing season
Shrubs- Deciduous- After blooming or when dormant & Evergreen- After blooming or when actively growing.
Fruits- Typically late Feb.-March & Berries-late summer or fall
Vines- after they die back, or before the new growth starts. Evergreen vines prune during growing season.
Annuals, Perennials & Bulbs- after they have died back. Deadhead flowers and hanging plants.
Ornamental Grasses- before the new growth starts; or give a tidy trim during the growing season or complete cut before new growth starts.
Annuals, House & Seasonal Plants- after blooming, deadhead. Remove dead leaves when needed, year round.
Make a list of plants that you need pruning and where they are in your yard. They put this information into a schedule for yourself, that once or twice a month (or how often needed) you can attend to pruning and other duties that may need your attention.
Take my Pruning Your Landscape Class to Learn More! www.PierceCE.com for more info.