At Landscapers Store, we know pruners! Pruners are a great way to keep plants and trees looking great and in good health. Did you know that improperly pruning plants and trees can negatively affect the overall health of that plant? Many factors come into play while pruning, right down to the type of pruner. We carry high quality pruners so you can prune quickly and properly. Using a cheap set of pruners will simply crush branches and cause plant wounds while removing branches. Do yourself a favor and pick up a good set of pruners and watch your plants thrive for years to come!
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So you have established a beautiful garden and mulch beds full of ornamental plants. We figure you are watering regularly and keeping a sharp eye out for weeds. Good job! To keep your garden and landscapes looking great season after season, most plants will require some type of annual pruning. Pruning is the process of removing unwanted or undesirable portions of a plant. So what’s the point of pruning? Pruning allows you to keep plants at the size and shape that you desire. You can make a plant have fuller blooms, round, square, or natural shapes, or even make your plants serve as a privacy fence, all using a simple pair of pruners.
Plants adapt to their environment. Their limbs grow to catch valuable sunlight and block other limbs. Limbs that cannot get sunlight will eventually die out. Pruning is important in cases like this because decay organisms will enter the dying limbs and can cause the plant to get a disease. Before any pruning can take place, you need to have the right tools for the job. A basic hand pruner will due just fine but make sure that the blades are sharp. The two most common types of hand pruners are anvil and scissor action. Anvil pruners operate with one flat head and a blade. The blade will slice through the branch towards the flat end. Anvil pruners, if not sharp, will sometimes smash the branches and make an uneven cut or tear instead of a clean cut. Scissor pruners, or bypass pruners, operate just as the name suggests. Two blades slice through branches and produce a clean, and even cut. These pruners must also be kept sharp so that clean cuts are always made. Taking care of your pruners can pay off big in the long run. Clean cuts will allow the plant to heal quicker and cleaner. Smashing cuts or bark tears will cause the area around the cut to become disfigured and could allow for disease. Also keep in mind that if you think you have pruned a plant with a disease, make sure to clean your pruners before moving to another plant so that the disease does not infect any other plants. This can be done by washing them with bleach, alcohol, or any disinfecting soap.
Pruners should be used for small branches with a diameter no bigger then 1/2 inch. Attempting to prune branches larger then 1/2 with hand pruners will result in damage to the plant or your pruners. Loppers should be used for branches that are ½ to 2 inches. Loppers also come in anvil and bypass varieties but are operated by both hands via their 2 long handles (usually 8-24in long). Select the proper tool and get out there and prune!
Start Pruning! When looking at a shrub or plant with your pruners in your hand, try to envision how the plant should look in its natural state, or how it will fit best in its location. The first step to proper pruning is to remove any dead, dying, or diseased branches. If you do encounter a disease on a portion of the plant, prune off all infected branches then wash your pruners before returning to the plant. Cuts should be made as clean as possible so the plant can properly heal. Determining the angle of the cut is simple as long as you follow a few simple rules. Cuts should be made at the proper areas such as near buds, or at intersecting branches. It is important to cut just after a upward facing bud. This will cause a new shoot to grow straight up. When cutting at intersecting branches, choose a branch that shoots off another at an angle of about 45 degrees. The cut should be made to compensate and look like the branch has a natural bend. This can be achieved by cutting at an angle just past the intersection (see image). By following these simple rules and making clean cuts, the plant is allowed to heal and produce your desired shoots and new growth locations.
Pruning for specific purposes also has its challenges. To keep a plant to a desired height or width, thin it out! To thin out a plant, prune from the inside of the plant and cut out the tallest and oldest branches first. These branches should be removed from the main stem or ground level. This will keep the size consistent. If pruning for shape, it is important to prune for the shape throughout the entire life of the shrub or plant. If you are going for a row of hedges or shaped shrub (round, square etc), and think that you can just let it grow to full size then trim and prune to the desired shape, you are wrong. This method will choke out any growth that is not on the perimeter of the plant, then when you prune and trim, you will have a shaped pile of connected sticks with no foliage.
You can also prune to increase the size of a plant or to save a plant that is not doing so well. To do this, cut off about 1/3 of the tallest and oldest stems of a plant. This type of pruning should be done just before the plant starts its new growth cycle.
The time of year that you should prune is also important. Light maintenance pruning can be done throughout the year to remove any problem areas of a plant, but major pruning should be carefully planned. Plants that produce flowers need to pruned at certain times. Although timing is different for each plant, a good rule to remember is that spring blooming plants, bloom because of the growth that occurred the previous summer. Spring blooming plants should be pruned shortly after they bloom so that they can spend the summer growing new buds for next years bloom. Plants that bloom after June mostly bloom from buds that were produced that same spring. These guys should be pruned late in the winter. Pruning during this time will produce a lot of shoot growth in the spring.
Now you should have a slightly better understanding of what those old set of pruners are capable of. Remember, it is better not to prune then to prune improperly, so get the right tools, know what your doing, and make the most out of your plants and shrubs.