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Tips to Pruning Trees and Shrubs for Best Growth
With these tips you'll be pruning your trees and shrubs for their best growth yet.
Whether your landscape is newer or older, chances are there are trees and shrubs that need pruning in some way. Pruning is removing the dead, broken, touching or crossing and otherwise damaged branches from a tree or shrub. This is also a good time for shaping the plants and cutting the old growth down to a more manageable size for plants that have outgrown their spaces.
Pruning is best done anytime after plant go dormant in fall so the sap is not flowing as freely throughout the plant. Removing branches or partial branches creates a wound on the plant. Fall or early winter pruning often leaves these wounds susceptible to attracting insects and disease.
Most pruning on trees and shrubs is handled in late winter to early spring (depending on your location) when the weather is still cool and the plant is still dormant. At this time, you can see the entire plant and make better assesments on what to prune away.
First, cut out all broken and dead branches. When cutting complete branches, don't cut it flush with the trunk. Leaving a tiny nub (about 1/8 to 1/4 inch) on the trunk minimizes the wound size.
Second, prune out all touching and crossing branches. When branches trouch or cross, it rubs the branches creating open wounds that attract insects while crossing branches limit growth.
Now, you are ready to clip away partially damaged branches or those with dead ends. When partially pruning a branch, determine how much of the branch to remove and then make the cut just above the last bud before the damaged area.
With the unhealthy branches removed, you can now decide if you want to reshape the plants. Following the same rule as cutting away a partial branch, you can shape the plants to a more consistent size allowing for even growth during spring and summer.
Now you have healthy trees and shrubs ready for new spring growth.