Pruning is an advantageous practice which will prevent overgrowth on your trees, plants and shrubs. Pruning is also an excellent way of keeping your landscape neat and attractive.
In addition, pruning may serve other benefits. These include:
-Encouraging flower and fruit development
-Controlling the plant size
-Keeping evergreens well-proportioned
-Removing dead or dying, dangerous or unsightly branches
You may prune a tree or shrub if insects or storms damage particular branches. It is always important, however, to never prune back a tree or shrub that has fallen onto an electrical line, or even one that is near an electrical line. Instead, call your local electric company to handle the problem.
If you have overhanging branches which threaten to damage your roof, patio, deck or swimming pool if they fall, you’ll want to address this immediately. Likewise, if there are branches which interfere with outdoor lighting systems, or if low-lying or weak branches hang over sidewalks or other areas which could injure people, they must be removed.
Otherwise, you will likely prune your plants to achieve an attractive appearance or to encourage new growth and flower or fruit development.
When pruning your hedges, aim for a natural appearance. A well-pruned shrub is one that looks as if it hasn’t been pruned! Pruning shrubbery into tight, geometric patterns not only creates more work for you and increases the number of times each year you must prune the shrub to maintain its desired shape, but it may also adversely affect the growth and flowering of the plant.
It is important to know that pruning begins when your tree is still young. Many people avoid pruning trees when they’re young because they are afraid they’ll damage the plant. In reality, pruning young trees encourages a strong structure and a nice shape.
As your young tree begins to grow, you’ll want to remove the lower branches to raise the crown of the tree.
Later winter or early spring is usually the best time for pruning most of your trees, plants and shrubs. It is easier to visualize areas that need pruned when there are no leaves on the tree. It may also avoid certain diseases and physiological problems.
Trees and shrubs which bloom early in the growing season should be pruned immediately after the finish blooming. Shrubs that do not have showy flowers can be pruned in the spring, before any growth begins.
Hedges should be pruned often, preferably after it grows 6 to 8 inches above the preferred height. You can prune your shrubs to within 2 inches of your last pruning. If you prune your hedges twice a year – in spring and in mid-summer – you can maintain their dense, attractive appearance.
Always remember to prune hedges so that they are wider at the base than at the top, which allows all parts of the hedge to receive adequate sunlight.
Evergreens require very little pruning. Different types of evergreens have different pruning requirements because of their varied growth habits. Check with your local nursery or landscape center for recommendations on pruning your evergreens.
With regular pruning, your trees and hedges can grow to their maximum beauty, with longevity and health that will keep your garden green for decades to come.