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Pruning Basics - Lesson #2 - The Function of Pruning

Author : Elizabeth Huston789
Publish Date : 2021-04-19 09:34:01
Pruning Basics - Lesson #2 - The Function of Pruning

When we prune a plant, we are trying to accomplish one or more objectives associated with plant health, appearance or safety. The act of pruning is also very rewarding, like painting, it provides very visual results and personal satisfaction. A well-manicured garden is a healthy garden and the plants in your landscape or on your balcony will reward you with improved growth, more flowers and fruit, or better shape and form when pruned properly.

Some pruning is always called for when either the health of the plant is threatened or the safety of the occupants of the home is at risk. It may be that some limbs have broken or are split from snow-loads or winds and need to be removed to keep the yard or house safe. This type of pruning is rather obvious, less apparent is the need for pruning to increase plant health. The condition could be diseased branches, or branching so dense that light and air circulation are restricted, leading to other pathogenic problems that would affect overall plant health.

Many times we prune to remove root suckers that emerge from the base of the plant near the soil root zone, or shoots that are growing straight up from the main trunk or from scaffold branches. These wayward straight shoots are often called water sprouts and often disrupt the form that you are working to develop. There are times when you may not want to remove these, especially if you are developing a topiary and the sprouts fill a spot that is void of growth. It is important with young trees not to prune too extensively until the trunk has developed some girth because the lower branches help to shade the trunk from the summer sun as well as synthesize the extra fertilizing you may be giving the tree during its early formative years. Once the trunk has a diameter of two or three inches, the lower undesired branches can be removed gradually over a two or three-year period.

Many flowering and fruiting trees and shrubs must be pruned to encourage additional blooms or to enhance robust fruit production. It is important that you know where the next flush of blossoms or fruit is supposed to develop before pruning. Many plants flower or fruit on the previous season's growth, and you need to know the characteristics of the plant before cutting to insure that the pruning is working with the plant rather than eliminating the coming season flowering and/or fruit production.

 

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Whenever you prune, you are modifying the direction of the plants development. Removing the apical bud from the tip of the growing shoot eliminates the source of plant chemicals that retard the growth of other buds further down the shoot. So pruning is going to stop or retard growth on the pruned branch tip and encourage growth in the lateral and latent buds left behind on the lower part of that branch. Conversely, pinching or cutting the lateral side shoots of a branch is going to promote continued development and elongation of the terminal tip of the branch or stem.

Most of your pruning is going to be done in the late winter when the plant is dormant a month or so before growth resumes, or with many deciduous plants in late summer a month or so before the first frost. Remember that pruning is going to stimulate new growth from areas below the cut and if you prune too far from the first frost the tender new growth will probably freeze or get very ugly from cold damage. It is important to know if your evergreens flower on new growth or last years growth and prune them accordingly. If it is on last seasons growth, prune after the bloom. If it is new seasons growth that blooms, prune in late winter before new growth starts.

The art of garden pruning should be done with thought-out objectives and not as some random hack job. Pruning done well can be very rewarding, providing not only personally pleasing visual results, but helping to maintain the health of your garden. A well-manicured garden promotes improved growth, more flowers and fruit, or better shape and form.

Copyright: Gilbert Foerster/2010
quantities of ornamental and landscape plant seedlings.
When we prune a plant, we are trying to accomplish one or more objectives associated with plant health, appearance or safety. The act of pruning is also very rewarding, like painting, it provides very visual results and personal satisfaction. A well-manicured garden is a healthy garden and the plants in your landscape or on your balcony will reward you with improved growth, more flowers and fruit, or better shape and form when pruned properly.

Some pruning is always called for when either the health of the plant is threatened or the safety of the occupants of the home is at risk. It may be that some limbs have broken or are split from snow-loads or winds and need to be removed to keep the yard or house safe. This type of pruning is rather obvious, less apparent is the need for pruning to increase plant health. The condition could be diseased branches, or branching so dense that light and air circulation are restricted, leading to other pathogenic problems that would affect overall plant health.

Many times we prune to remove root suckers that emerge from the base of the plant near the soil root zone, or shoots that are growing straight up from the main trunk or from scaffold branches. These wayward straight shoots are often called water sprouts and often disrupt the form that you are working to develop. There are times when you may not want to remove these, especially if you are developing a topiary and the sprouts fill a spot that is void of growth. It is important with young trees not to prune too extensively until the trunk has developed some girth because the lower branches help to shade the trunk from the summer sun as well as synthesize the extra fertilizing you may be giving the tree during its early formative years. Once the trunk has a diameter of two or three inches, the lower undesired branches can be removed gradually over a two or three-year period.

Many flowering and fruiting trees and shrubs must be pruned to encourage additional blooms or to enhance robust fruit production. It is important that you know where the next flush of blossoms or fruit is supposed to develop before pruning. Many plants flower or fruit on the previous season's growth, and you need to know the characteristics of the plant before cutting to insure that the pruning is working with the plant rather than eliminating the coming season flowering and/or fruit production.

Whenever you prune, you are modifying the direction of the plants development. Removing the apical bud from the tip of the growing shoot eliminates the source of plant chemicals that retard the growth of other buds further down the shoot. So pruning is going to stop or retard growth on the pruned branch tip and encourage growth in the lateral and latent buds left behind on the lower part of that branch. Conversely, pinching or cutting the lateral side shoots of a branch is going to promote continued development and elongation of the terminal tip of the branch or stem.

Most of your pruning is going to be done in the late winter when the plant is dormant a month or so before growth resumes, or with many deciduous plants in late summer a month or so before the first frost. Remember that pruning is going to stimulate new growth from areas below the cut and if you prune too far from the first frost the tender new growth will probably freeze or get very ugly from cold damage. It is important to know if your evergreens flower on new growth or last years growth and prune them accordingly. If it is on last seasons growth, prune after the bloom. If it is new seasons growth that blooms, prune in late winter before new growth starts.

The art of garden pruning should be done with thought-out objectives and not as some random hack job. Pruning done well can be very rewarding, providing not only personally pleasing visual results, but helping to maintain the health of your garden. A well-manicured garden promotes improved growth, more flowers and fruit, or better shape and form.

Copyright: Gilbert Foerster/2010
quantities of ornamental and landscape plant seedlings.



Category : general

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