Seems like a simple question, right? Sometimes we need to control the the height or width of a plant. Other times we may have branches get broken in a storm and they need to be removed. No matter what the reason for pruning there are a few things that are important to keep in mind.
First, you need to have a purpose and a plan. It is never a good idea to go in swinging and hacking without a clear, desired outcome and the steps you plan to take to get there. It may be simple, such as to shape a hedge and keep it full. A plan for that is easy. There are times, however, where a complex situation requires more forethought. An example of that may be thinning the canopy of a 20 year old oak to allow more light for the turf below. In a case like that you need a plan and knowledge so you don’t cause irreversible damage that could lead to a dead tree and a costly removal down the road. The point is to invest a little bit of time in the beginning to insure you won’t regret your actions in the future.
The second item to consider is that you should take your time and do a good job. In many cases it is important to the long term health of plants being pruned that you make clean cuts in the proper place. In some situations it is appropriate to use hedge shears and prune a shrub indiscriminately. A variety with fine textured foliage will respond well to that. It is imperative, however, when pruning larger growing tree to make a clean cut in the right place. Pruning in the wrong location or performing an improper cut may leave a wound that the tree is unable to heal properly. That can be an open door for decay and lead to long term issue.
There are many factors to consider when pruning in your landscape. Many more than we mentioned. Sometimes it can be quick and simple. Other situations call for more experience, knowledge and planning to avoid costly mistakes. Whether you choose to do your own maintenance or pay a professional it is worth the time and effort to do it right.
It is my goal to add more posts soon with more specifics on pruning and other topics that are interesting or key to success in your landscape. Please feel free to leave a comment or send us an email if you have questions about pruning or other topics you would like us to address. Thanks for reading.