Tree Pruning Basics

Trimming and pruning trees can enhance the natural beauty of a landscape if done right, but can also hold the risk of permanently damaging a tree or shrub. A tree will naturally grow and form into the shape that benefits the most from the surrounding area and how light coverage is affected, so even without pruning a tree will be able to grow healthily. If you do want to try pruning your trees or shrubs, keep in mind that it takes proper understanding and skill in order to complete successfully.

Pruning is done in order to train the plant into a specific shape, maintain the tree or shrub’s health, improve flowering quality, or restrict growth. Regardless of the specific purpose, pruning should always be done methodically with a goal in mind. The first step should always be to cut off all dead, diseased, or broken branches. Additional removal of branches should only be done if you want to train the tree, if the tree still seems crowded, or if there is a hazard.

Depending on which type of plant you are pruning, the recommended time to prune can vary. Following the recommended time of year to prune the plant will reduce the risk of damaging and weakening the plant. The best time of year to prune most plants is during the late winter of early spring in the time before the new growth starts.

Another important part of pruning is taking care of your tools. Equipment that is properly taken care of will last longer and do a better job. After using equipment, oil it in order to keep it from rusting. The most popular shears are scissor action pruning shears and anvil action shears. Other tools, such as lopping shears and pole pruners, are used for cutting bigger and harder to reach branches.

Always make sure to consider the circumstances, such as season, age, and type of the plant, before attempting to prune. With proper research and practice, you should be able to prune successfully.

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