How To Properly Prune

By: Jeff Skierka

 

Prune like a pro and your trees will love you for it.

As I drive through neighborhoods, I am constantly amazed at the horrific pruning I see. While some plants are meant to form a hedge and should be sheared, most plants should not be. It pains me to see beautiful Japanese maples, flowering and fruit-bearing trees, and others lose their character and beauty by being sheared.

Properly trained pruners know that, to bring out the natural beauty of a plant, it is important to always start “inside” the plant and prune toward the outside.

Always use the following checklist, especially when pruning deciduous trees.

The Correct Way to Prun

  • Remove all dead branches.
  • Always remove “suckers,” branches that often grow straight up from the base of the plant; if left unpruned they can overtake the main tree.
  • Remove crossing branches.
  • Remove branches growing toward the center of the tree.
  • Make sure all pruning cuts are clean, diagonal, and cut to the nearest branch; never leave stubs.

A correctly pruned plant will maintain its beauty and character throughout the landscape seasons. Upon completion of pruning, you should be able to see though the plant. This will allow for a healthier tree or bush that can now “breathe.”

The optimum time to prune is after the temperatures have dropped and the leaves have fallen. The plants are now at a dormant stage and will not be stressed or bleed sap from pruning.

The Wrong Way to Prun

Properly pruned plants will be healthier and add value to the landscape for years and years to come.