Gardening 101: The Right Way to Prune Your Plants

A part of proper garden maintenance is trimming and pruning your plants. The process of pruning involves removing branches and leaves and is usually done during late winter or early spring. Pruning is important because it ensures an even and healthy plant growth. Pruning may look easy but there are certain things that you have to remember.

What to Prune

The important thing in pruning the shrubs and trees in your garden is knowing what to prune. Before you start, look at your plants and take note of what needs to be removed or shortened. Search for dense areas that may require trimming. Remove damaged and dead stems that no longer produce flowers. Cut down branches that cross together as the friction between them can cause wounds. You can also get rid of branches and stems that grow at odd angles to maintain the appearance of your plants.

Tools You Will Need

You will require several tools in pruning your shrubs and trees. Gardening experts recommend that you use hand pruners because they are lighter and easier to use than pruning shears. These handheld pruners can be used in making precision cutting and can cut both hard wood and soft wood. There are two kinds that you can use: the bypass pruner and the anvil pruner. The former features a curved cutting blade and utilizes a scissor-like action to trim green and growing stems. Meanwhile, the latter features a wedge-shape blade and is used to remove dried stems and branches. For thicker branches, loppers and pruning saws are sometimes used. You should also have a pair of thick work gloves to protect your hands from thorns and sharp objects.

Pruning Techniques

When you prune your plants, make sure that you are using the right tools for the job. Cut just above the buds and make sure your cuts are slightly inclined so the buds will grow. Keep your cuts clean to facilitate faster healing and to avoid infection. Carefully choose which branches and stems to cut to maintain the plant’s shape and form and to avoid rapid regrowth.

Two Types of Pruning

Every gardener must take note that there are two types of pruning: maintenance pruning and rejuvenation pruning. Maintenance pruning is done on deciduous plants to keep them healthy and to avoid overgrowth. Keep in mind that you need to disinfect your tools between each cut so you will not transfer diseases from plant to plant.

On the other hand, rejuvenation pruning is done on older plants with a lot of dead stems and branches. This method of pruning is meant to restore these plants so they can keep on growing. However, not all plants will respond to this so you need to be careful in doing rejuvenation pruning.


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