This is your first (of many) steps into the world of pruning. There is so much to learn and understand in order to keep your plants healthy, happy, and disease-free. Pruning can be a large, all-consuming topic, but we don't want you to feel overwhelmed. That's why we created this free portion of these pruning lessons. We want to give you a bite-size overview of pruning. In the blink of an eye (in one or two cuts), you can transform your plants into beautiful, healthy perennials, or into a bundle of sticks with a very short lifespan.
Well, pruning is the physical removal of plant parts and tissues from a plant for different reasons. Those reasons might be to make it look better or control the plants size, for access or visibility, for safety, for the plants health, or for other reasons.
When you prune a plant, in a basic concept, you are removing areas of the plant that need and use energy. That energy can be water, oxygen, sugar, or nutrients.
By removing areas of a plant that need energy, you are freeing up that energy to be re-routed and used in the remaining portions of that plant.
Overall, by pruning, you are telling the plant to specifically grow, in the remaining areas, not the areas you removed. "Grow over here, not over there." Does that make sense?.
Here is a general list of plants, like conifers, deciduous trees and shrubs, and evergreen plants, that you can apply the above pruning description to are:
In general, you can prune just about any plant, but there are differences in what you should prune and why you should prune.
The WHY of pruning comes down to your goal for pruning:
If you can't think of a good reason to prune any plant, then you shouldn't prune it.
When you know your why, you can then get to what you should actually prune. This can take a lot of the guessing out of any pruning work you need to get done and cuts back on any wasted time or unneeded tasks. This also forces you to have a plan and to think about the reasoning behind your pruning, which can then develop into a broader plan of pruning other similar plants in your garden and even your entire garden.
Stem - growth of plants where pruning cuts can be made.
Bud - where plants grow or flower from.
Thinning Cut - type of pruning cut that removes a whole stem or branch back to it's point of attachment.
Heading Cut - type of pruning cut that removes a portion of a stem or branch.
Hedging - a formal type of pruning using heading cuts to form plants into shapes or to have edges. "Hedges have edges".
Formal Pruning - shaping a plant into definite recognizable shapes.
Informal Pruning - shaping plants so they keep their natural shape and form.
Pruning - removing plant tissue to control and shape plants, and for health.
Hedging or Heading - when you want to give a plant a specific shape or line, and a more formal look.
Thinning - when you want to remove dense growth to increase airflow inside and around plant canopy, also to redirect plant growth so the plant has a more natural look.
Rejuvenating - when you want to reinvigorate a plants growth so it looks healthy and has increased growth.
Rehabilitating - when you want to start over, either partially or all the way, a plants growth to reshape it for a specific space or reason.
Please contact us if you cannot find an answer to your question.
Yes, but each plant can be different and how you prune it is very dependent on how it grows, what kind of plant it is, where it is growing in your garden, time of year, and much more. Do your homework on each specific plant before you prune them.
Yes, each pruning tool can be used for specific cuts to properly care for your plants. For small stem or branch cuts (less than 1.5 inches) you can use hand pruners and for larger stems or branch cuts (larger than 1.5 inches up to 2-4 inches) you can use loppers. Larger cuts should be done with a hand or chainsaw. (Safety First!)
Yes, in general, pruning involves making specific cuts and removing plant tissue to influence growth of hard wood and semi-hard wood plants that builds off previous years growth. Cutting back herbaceous perennials is removing last years growth to make way for the coming years new growth and flowers.