Be Proper in Pruning
Pruning properly enhances the beauty of most landscape trees and shrubs, while incorrect pruning can severely reduce or ruin their landscape potential. Most times, it’s better to avoid pruning than to do it incorrectly. Although plants can live for many years without pruning, man can alter what nature has done. Unsane pruning methods can cause plants to become weaker and more difficult to maintain. All plants eventually need to be pruned. The simple act of having lower branches shaded by taller ones can cause a collar to form around the base of the branch, restricting moisture and nutrients. The leaves eventually die, and then the branch is blown off by a strong wind or storm. Wild animals can often take the tender, young branches of small plants and eat them. Over time, plants that grow naturally take on the shapes that allow them to make the most of light and temperature in their environment. You only need to see nature’s beauty to understand a plant’s ability to adapt to its environment.
- To train the plants
- To ensure plant health
- To increase the quality and beauty of flowers, fruit, leaves, or stems
- To restrain growth
Pruning: A Plan Approach
A plan should be followed when pruning. Before cutting begins, consider the purpose or reason.
It is possible to reduce the number of cuts by making them in a particular order. A skilled pruner will first trim any dead, broken, or diseased limbs at their point of origin, or back to a strong shoot or lateral branch. Sometimes, this will open the canopy enough that no further pruning is required.
The next step is to make any required training cuts. To train a tree or shrub to achieve a desired shape or fill in an area that has been damaged by wind or storm, it is necessary to trim lateral branches. Understanding the natural growth patterns of a plant is essential in order to properly train it. Avoid damaging the plant’s natural growth habit or shape when pruning. If the plant is not closely watched, it may attempt to adopt a more natural growth pattern.
When to prune
Pruning is possible at any time throughout the year. However, different plants have different pruning times. Contrary to popular belief pruning at the wrong times of the year will not cause death, but it can lead to damaged or weak plants. Don’t prune just for the sake of it, but to ensure that the plants are not damaged. This rule will ensure that the plant is not damaged. Most plants should be pruned in late winter and early spring, before the growth begins. There are exceptions, however. They will be discussed in the discussion about the specific plant group. The most undesirable time is right after the new growth emerges in spring. For the development of new growth, a great deal of food is stored in roots or stems. This food should be replaced before it is removed. Otherwise, the plant could suffer from severe dwarfing. This is a common problem in pruning.
While it is essential to know and practice the rules for pruning, equally important is the use of the correct tools. The right tools can limit equipment to a small number of items. Choose tools that can do the job, have a sharp edge and are easy to sharpen. These are some of the most popular pruning tools. Equipment that is well maintained and cared for will last longer. Equipment should be stored in a dry place, kept clean and in top operating condition. For the prevention of spreading disease to plants that are diseased, disinfect all shears. For example, you can prune fire blight from pears or pyracantha. To disinfect equipment after each cut, use alcohol or bleach. Mix equal parts bleach and water at a rate of one part bleach to nine percent water. Oil the pruning equipment to prevent rusting at the end.
There are many different types of hand pruning shavers. Most are designed to cut stems of up to 1/2-inch in diameter. You may damage the shears if you attempt to cut large branches.
The anvil cut and scissor-action are the most popular styles of hand shears. Scissor action shears have a thinner, sharper blade than a thicker, more sharper blade. These can be more expensive, but they make better cuts. A sharpened blade is better than a wide, flat blade in anvil cut shears.
Lopping shears, also known as loppers, have long handles that can be used by both hands (Figure 1). Even the most inexpensive can cut material to 1/2 inch. The best ones can cut branches that are 2 inches or larger, depending on what species they are. Oak is stronger than ash. Depending on the species, they can cut through branches up to 2 inches in diameter.
A pole pruner usually has a cutter with a single hooked blade above and one below, much like a pair of large lopping shears. The cutter is attached to a pole. A rope is pulled downward. Poles are made of a variety materials. They can either be made in sections that can be stacked together or can be used as a telescope. Aluminum poles can conduct electricity if they touch overhead electrical wires, but wooden poles are heavy and strong. Fiberglass, or another type of plastic material, is the best choice for pole material. Poles can be fitted using saws, but these can be very frustrating (Figure 2).
The use of pole pruners could be dangerous. The operator can be hurt if material is cut overhead. Safety glasses and head protection are recommended for all users.
Take Care of Your Tools
Oil tools frequently, and clean and oil them regularly. You should keep your edges sharp. A few passes with an oil stone can usually suffice. You can paint, varnish or treat wooden handles regularly with linseed oils. Be careful with your tools. Do not twist, strain or strain pruners. You should keep the branch as far as possible from the pivot and in the jaws. Do not use pruning tools to cut wires.
There has been much written about the pros and cons of dressing large cuts. A wound dressing, or pruning paint, is not recommended for cuts that are more than 1 inch in diameter. Scientists now know that wound dressings can only be used for cosmetic purposes and are not effective in preventing disease or insect damage to the wound. Pruning with paint could actually slow down the healing process. With one exception, wound dressings should not be used. In Texas, oak trees that are susceptible to oak wilt should have wound dressings. This will help prevent the barkbeetle from spreading the disease through the tree’s surface.
Pruning cuts correctly
All cuts should be smooth and clean to encourage quick healing. This will require sharp, well-maintained pruning equipment. Avoid leaving stubs, as these are often the place where dieback occurs. Avoid ripping the bark when you are removing large branches. These are some tips on how to prune.
Woody plants can be divided into two groups based on how the buds are placed on the twigs or branches. The arrangement of the buds determines the plants’ typical growth pattern. The bud arrangement may differ from the one shown on the twigs. Alternate buds can be rounded, columnar, pyramidal, or inverted pyramidal. Plants with opposite buds seldom take any form but that of a rounded tree, shrub, or shrub with a round crown. The direction the new shoot will grow depends on the position of its last pair of buds. Buds that are on the top of a twig will most likely grow upward at an angle, and to the same side as the one it is directed. Most times, cutting back stems to make bud or branch is a good idea. The outside buds are preferred over those that face the inside. If you cut an outside bud, new shoots will not grow into the interior of the plant or cross.
Choose a branch that is not more than 45 degrees from the branch you are removing when cutting back an intersecting (lateral branch). Figure 5. You should also ensure that the diameter of the cut branch is at least half of the one to be removed. Slanting cuts are best for removing upward-growing limbs. This helps prevent water from accumulating and accelerates healing.
Thinning Versus Topping
Too often, trees are “dehorned”, or topped to reduce their size and/or rejuvenate their growth. It is not recommended to topp a tree in either of these cases. Topping is when a tree is reduced to a few large branches. Regrowth from a top tree takes 2 to 3 years. The result is vigorous, bushy, and upright after that time. The tree’s appearance and structure are greatly affected by the topping. The weakly attached branches can fall out during strong winds and rain storms. Trees that are toppled can also reduce their life expectancy and make them more susceptible to disease and insect attack.
Thinning is an effective method to reduce the size of a tree and/or rejuvenate growth. Thinning is a method that removes unwanted branches from trees. It’s not like topping. Thinning preserves the tree’s natural branching pattern and makes the branches more open, highlighting the tree’s internal structure. Thinning strengthens the tree and encourages diameter growth in the remaining branches.