Pruning Plants and Bushes
Almost any plant will benefit from an occasional pruning. You can usually
rejuvenate an overgrown, or struggling plant, by giving it a good trim. Even
a healthy plant benefits by a trimming from time to time. It doesn't matter
whether it's a tree or a shrub, a bush, flowers, or many of your vegetable
plants. They all benefit by pruning and trimming.
With few exceptions, plants can be pruned anytime during the year. But, for
most, pruning is best done in spring.. Pruning makes your plant look better
and feel better too! It allows the plant's "support system" to send vital
energy and nutrients a smaller area and to encourage new, more vigorous
growth. The result.......a lusher, healthier, and better looking plant!
There are several reasons to prune plants:
To remove dead , weak, or unsightly branches ad leaves.
To re-invigorate plant growth...new leaves and branches grow faster.
To reshape the plant into a more desirable shape.
To produce denser, bushier appearance.
To thin out growth, providing more air circulation and light.
To limit plant size.
Pruning most plants can be done almost anytime of year. In general, spring
and fall is best. Many bushes and plants get a good trimming when you, the
homeowner, gets a chance to work in the yard during the summer.
For flowers that bloom more than once a year, it is usually good to trim
them back as son as the first flush of blooms have died off.
And, it is not uncommon to find an avid gardener or two walking around the
yard during a calm winter day with a pruner in hand. Are you guilty as
charged....we hope so!
Note: There are a few plants that should only be pruned in the spring
right after blooming, These are generally shrubs, most notably Lilac bushes.
more on Pruning Lilacs
How and What to Prune:
Dead, dying and unsightly limbs and branches - Inspect your plants
regularly. Remove any branches or stems that fit this category right away,
and at any time of year. They are only sapping plant energy, and are unsightly
in appearance. Cut away to either a branch or stem, or to where live, healthy
Pruning Branches - Use a sharp pruner or pruning saw. Cut the branch
as close to the main stem or trunk as possible. Cut parallel to the trunk.
If the branch is big and you are using a saw, begin with a small slit from
the bottom side of the branch. Then, go to the top of the branch and begin
sawing. This will minimize the tearing of bark from the main branch, if the
branch breaks and falls while cutting.
Thinning thick bushes and plants - Remove any thin and spindly stems
right down to the ground, or base of the plant. Remove older branches to
promote new growth, again right to the base of the plant. Prune away inner
branches and stems that do not receive much sunlight. As a rule of thumb,
when thinning bushes, remove no more than 1/4 to 1/3 of the stems a year.
Pruning transplants - When pruning transplants, the rule of thumb
is to trim off 1/3 of the plant before you move it. After transplanting,
your plant focuses upon repairing and regrowing it's root system. While
this is going on underground, the remaining roots will have less plant to
support. It will also result in a bushier plant later on.
Proper Pruning Tools:
The best pruning tools are essential in your gardening tool belt. Pruning
tools are among the most frequently used gardening tools. The best pruning
tools are those that have sharp cutting edges, and are comfortable in your
hands. There is nothing worse than a dull tool, which makes your work harder,
and results in crushing, tearing, or other damage to the plant.
More Gardening Information:
Pruning Tomato Plants