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Pruning 101

Pruning select trees and shrubs prior to spring gives a better visual of branches, without flowers and foliage getting in the way.

Do not prune any spring bloomers at this time as many have already set their buds for spring; these may be pruned immediately after flowering.

Here are a Few Helpful Tips:

  • Prune Safe - Do not use stepladders or chairs to reach upper branches, use long handle pruners and pole saws. Do not ever climb trees with a chain saw- call for a professional arborist!

  • It is good practice to carry hand pruners when in the garden.

  • Cut off a diseased, dead or broken branch from and tree, shrub or plant at any time.

  • Prune the weaker of two rubbing branches that are developing bark wounds- the quicker the better.

  • Make sure a branch is dead, not dormant by slicing the bark and observing green wood.

  • Prune hedges so that the plants grow wider at the base than at the top.

  • Pruning top terminal branches produces a low spreading tree.

  • Pruning lateral or side branches the tree will grow upwards- less bushy.

  • Burn cut debris to avoid spreading disease or attracting rot organisms.

  • Keep pruning tools, sharp, clean, well- oiled and use right tool for the job.

  • Keep trees and shrubs away from house windows and safe from foundation.

How to Cut

The cardinal rule of pruning is to cut cleanly and leave no stubs. A dead stub will rot, die, and is vulnerable to infections that can spread to the rest of the tree; either cut close to the main branch or immediately above a bud.

From left to right: The first cut is correct. The second cut leaves too much surface. The third cut leaves too long of a stub. The fourth cut was made too close to the bud.

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