Just like any other skill, pruning requires knowing what you are doing to achieve success. The sad truth is that more trees are dying every year from improper pruning.
With different definitions, pruning involves getting rid of plant parts to enhance the health, impact, landscape, or value of the plant. And to do that, there are different types of pruning techniques you need to follow.
Methods of Pruning
In this article, we will feed you with information on how you can use pruning techniques to get a clean and smooth cut. Below, there are different types of pruning techniques;
- For thick and heavy branches
Dr. Alex Shigo the previous USDA Forest Service plant pathologist claims that thick and heavy branches should not be flush with the trunk; rather it should be eliminated flush to the collar at the base of the branch.
Dr. Shigo’s method of pruning for thick and heavy branches is all about using a three-part cut. Make sure you use a three-part cut when cutting branches more than one and a half inches in diameter.
The first process is to saw an undercut from the base of the branch which can be from 6 to 12 inches out of the trunk and about 1/3 of the way through the branch. The second process is to make another cut from the top, about three inches further from the undercut, till it (branch) falls away.
You can then cut the resulting stub back to the collar of the branch. Assuming that there is a risk of the branch affecting other objects or limbs negatively on the ground, it should be properly assisted by roping it before you carefully place it on the ground.
- For Thinning
Do you know that thinning is a good way of lowering the size of a tree or rejuvenating growth? Well, unlike topping, this eliminates unwanted branches by making cuts back to where it all began.
Thinning does the accepted thing to the tree’s natural branching habit and results in a more open tree, emphasizing the branches’ internal structure. When you thin also, it strengthens the tree by forcing the diameter growth of the leftover branches.
- For training young trees
With the use of pruning techniques, you can train young trees which will certainly aid promote plant health and long life. After trees and shrubs, another pruning technique involves removing broken, crossing, and pest-infested branches.
According to recent research, it is no longer valid of pruning up to 1/3 of top growth when transplanting to reimburse for root loss. Too much pruning at transplanting lowers leaf area, which reduces the number of plant energy generated which are required to craft a vigorous and strong root system.
If you are transplanting woody plants, it is very necessary to note that the only pruning technique you can make use of is the removal of broken or damaged branches. Note; the central leader of a tree shouldn’t be pruned unless the leader is not needed anymore, just like in the case where many stemmed plants or some naturally low-branched trees are wanted.
Trees with a central leader, like sweetgum, magnolia, Texas road oak, etc, may require a bit or no pruning apart from getting rid of branches competing with the central leader.
- For Mature trees
Every gardener should reduce pruning of trees that are mature to smaller branches that can be acquired from the ground. In general, terms, although trees need less pruning than other ornamentals in the landscape, it may occasionally require the perfect pruning to maintain health and vigor.
To be frank with you, mature trees are pruned just for safety, sanitization, and to reduce size. It should be noted that trees are ideally pruned in the period of the dormant season because it helps to prevent the spread of oak wilt.
A professional in trees that are also experienced can easily know the difference between dead and live wood in winter. Pruning during winter is usually better because it is simple to visualize shaping when foliage is no more.
Also, such work can be done at a cheap rate in winter because fewer precautions are essential to prevent garden and flower bed damage.
- For repairing tree injury
Insect or other disease organisms can have access to trees that are injured, that is because they expose the wood. The right treatment safeguards the tree and enhances faster healing. Some trees get to maturity without it having any wounds from various sources.
Still, trees have survived for hundreds of years to become the oldest living creatures in the universe despite its wounds. It should be noted that trees do not heal just from the way you comprehend it. Trees that are injured are never repaired and returned to the previous state, just like a person’s hand that is injured.
Trees react by compartmentalizing the injured tissue or closing the wound from the surrounding tissue. For homeowners, you can support the plant compartmentalize the damage faster than it does in nature.
Assuming that the bark has been broken or undressed from the trunk, eliminate the injured bark and shape the wound. Remove all smashed bark and also eliminate isolated scraps from the wound area. If you want the healing to be faster, shape the edge of the wound, as nearly as possible, to a lengthened ellipse.
If you cannot obtain this shape, simply shape both the bottom and top of the wounded area so they get to a stage, even if the wound must be extended slightly. With a chisel, you can eliminate all splintered wood and smooth the surface of the exposed area.
- For Deciduous and Flower Shrubs
The recommendations of pruning for the majority of deciduous and flower shrubs comprise of thinning out, gradual renewal, and rejuvenation pruning. When it concerns thinning out, a twig or branch is removed from its point of origin, which could come from the ground level or the parent stem.
This particular technique results in a more open plant, that is, it doesn’t stimulate too much new growth but does give allowance for the growth of side branches.
When it concerns gradual renewal pruning, some of the oldest and longest branches are eliminated at or somewhat above the ground every year. A few thinning may be essential to reduce the length of long branches or probably maintain symmetrical shape.
Finally, when it concerns rejuvenating an old and overgrown shrub, eliminate 1/3 of the oldest and longest branches at or slightly above the ground before new growth begins.
Assuming that a shrub is developed for its flowers, the pruning should be précised to minimize the commotion of blooming. Spring flowering shrubs bloom on the previous year’s growth should be pruned immediately after they bloom because it will let for strong summertime growth and results in many flower buds in the next 365 days.
- For leaved Evergreens
Because narrow-leaved evergreens produce new development in spring and do not develop much during summer, prune in the first week or second week in April, May, or June.
You only prune evergreens according to their growth habits. Make these plants assume their natural shape. In this method, pruning is just about making cuts on the branches so that a more wanted plant is achieved through solid and controlled growth.
This needs pruning each stem instead of shearing. Shearing does not only prevent light from penetrating the center of the plant but also ruins the natural growth habit.
There are many guidelines you can follow for the many kinds of narrow-leaved evergreens. You can begin pruning when they (evergreen) are small, often in the first year. Then, assuming that they are pruned annually, serious pruning is not needed.
Get rid of dead branches whenever you notice them because new foliage from other branches will fill in these gaps.
Little pruning is needed for the narrow-leaved and upright evergreens like pines, junipers, etc. when you are pruning any narrow-leaved evergreen, make sure you do not cut into bare wood because plants may be damaged beyond repair.
Also, apart from removing multiple leaders, do not cut the central leader of these plants. For multiple leaders, it may happen when these plants are young and growing. You can eliminate all but one of the stems, leaving the strongest and the straightest.
- For broad-leaved evergreens
Broad-leaved evergreens like pyracantha, camellias, gardenias, hollies, azaleas, and photonics need very little pruning. This comprised list can go many years without pruning except for some slight cosmetic pruning to make them appear neat.
It should be noted that if excessive wood is eliminated from these plants at any time, whether during the hot or cold weather, the amount of fruit is decreased the following season. When these plants appear old and not well in shape, cut them back 6 to 8 inches on the ground level.
Many gardeners like to eliminate only about 1/3 of the branches at a time and retain the general shape of the plant. Well, this method can also be used. But in the long run, the perfect thing to do with overgrown broad-leaved evergreens is to eliminate and change them.