How to Prune Your Trees

Many people feel that pruning your trees and shrubs is a difficult and confusing process. But it really isn’t as difficult as you might think. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your next pruning session:


Use the Right Tool
It is far easier to use the correct tool for the job. Be sure that your tools are sharp as this will be safer for you and healthier for the plant that you are pruning.

• Hand Pruners-Depending on the size, these can be used for branches up to ¾” in diameter.

• Lopping Shears-These are best used on branches which are ¾” to 1 ¼” in diameter.

• Pruning Saws-This tool should be used on branches which are larger than 1 ¼” in diameter.

Follow the Steps in Chronological Order

• Remove any branches which are dead, broken or diseased.

• Remove any branches that crisscross, any water sprouts and any weak crotches.

• Thin out as needed. This will encourage blossoming and increase the air circulation of the plant.

• If necessary, prune to shape and reduce the size of the tree or shrub.

Other Helpful Tips

• Remember that what you leave is the most important, not what you actually remove.

• You should make all of your cuts above the union of a branch or a bud that grows in the direction you desire.

• Do not ever leave a stub.

• Leave the collar of the branch intact when pruning large branches back to the trunk area.

• You should never “top” a tree. This will result in growth that is rapid and weakened. You will end up with “witches’ brooms”.

• Remember that how much you prune will directly influence the re-growth. Light pruning will equal light re-growth and heavy pruning will equal heavy re-growth.

• Pruning in the spring will produce more breaks and re-growth than pruning in the summer.

• Prune your spring blooming shrubs right after blooming. This will encourage blossoming the next year.

• Prune apple trees and pear trees to the modified central leader. Stone fruit trees should be pruned to open the center.

• Shear your hedges in a slightly pyramidal shape to keep them full to the ground. Do not prune in an inverted pyramid shape.

• Pruning sealers are really not necessary. However, they do help to prevent the entry of borers on roses.

• Remember that pruning and disease control go together. One should not be done without the other.

• Sterilize your pruners between plants, using a 10 % bleach solution. Sterilize your pruners between each cut if fire blight or another disease is suspected. This will aid in not spreading the disease. Rinse your pruners after use to avoid corrosion.

Following these suggestions will help you to have beautiful and healthy trees and shrubs. Please share any other pruning tips that you may have learned over the years.

Trees For Your Landscaping

photo by gracey, morguefile.com

photo by gracey, morguefile.com

Trees, along with the Hardscaping of your property have been called the “bones” of the garden. They are such prominent fixtures in your landscaping and will stand forever, so make sure you are confident that the trees you plant will harmonize with your property. Here are some reasons for using trees in your landscaping.

As a Focal Point– Maybe you want the tree to be the main attraction to a garden or lawn. Consider its ideal shape. In a garden, for instance, you’ll want a tree that provides little shade so the flowers underneath can flourish. A flowering cherry tree would be ideal for this type of garden.

To Counterbalance a Building– Trees can be used to soften the contrast between a building and its surroundings making the design more appealing to the eye. Use tall spiky trees such as Italian Cypress for this function.

Screening– Creating a natural screen with trees can be difficult. Trees require time to grow to maturity. Hedges and fences are great alternatives. Hedges also make great wind screens since they have foliage year round.

Shade– Consider the spread of the tree when choosing for shade and remember you’ll need open space for that spread. Oak and Chestnut are fine shade trees.

Color– We love colorful blossoms in the spring and burning red leaves in the fall. Some trees can be colorful in spring and fall like the crabapple.

Now that we realize how to use a tree to compliment landscaping we must remember a few points when choosing a tree and planting it.

• Remember the size of your garden. Huge forest trees are neat, but probably won’t go well with a tiny flower garden on a tiny plot of land.

• Remember that the tree may be tiny now, but how tall will it be in ten or fifteen years? Will it hit the house? Does it have room for its eventual spread?

• Remember that the soil you plant the tree in can influence its rate of growth and how big it will get. Do your research.

• Remember the roots. Root spread can be a problem near homes, outbuildings, sidewalks, driveways. Some trees, like the Weeping Willow and Poplar, have huge root systems. Just keep this in mind when you choose a spot for planting.

Trees, “…will be the ancestors in your garden, standing as a blessing or a curse on those who come after you, depending on how well you choose what to plant.” -Liz Dobbs and Sarah Wood

Remember to choose the tree and its position in your landscaping wisely. That tree will likely be permanent or require much effort to remove later on.

Trees can be marvelous additions to our properties. They make great focal points, give us contrast and color, and provide a back bone for our landscaping. Tell us how and why you chose the “ancestors” of your garden.

How to Prune Your Trees

Many people feel that pruning your trees and shrubs is a difficult and confusing process. But it really isn’t as difficult as you might think. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your next pruning session:

Use the Right Tool
It is far easier to use the correct tool for the job. Be sure that your tools are sharp as this will be safer for you and healthier for the plant that you are pruning.

• Hand Pruners-Depending on the size, these can be used for branches up to ¾” in diameter.

• Lopping Shears-These are best used on branches which are ¾” to 1 ¼” in diameter.

• Pruning Saws-This tool should be used on branches which are larger than 1 ¼” in diameter.

Follow the Steps in Chronological Order

• Remove any branches which are dead, broken or diseased.

• Remove any branches that crisscross, any water sprouts and any weak crotches.

• Thin out as needed. This will encourage blossoming and increase the air circulation of the plant.

• If necessary, prune to shape and reduce the size of the tree or shrub.

Other Helpful Tips

• Remember that what you leave is the most important, not what you actually remove.

• You should make all of your cuts above the union of a branch or a bud that grows in the direction you desire.

• Do not ever leave a stub.

• Leave the collar of the branch intact when pruning large branches back to the trunk area.

• You should never “top” a tree. This will result in growth that is rapid and weakened. You will end up with “witches’ brooms”.

• Remember that how much you prune will directly influence the re-growth. Light pruning will equal light re-growth and heavy pruning will equal heavy re-growth.

• Pruning in the spring will produce more breaks and re-growth than pruning in the summer.

• Prune your spring blooming shrubs right after blooming. This will encourage blossoming the next year.

• Prune apple trees and pear trees to the modified central leader. Stone fruit trees should be pruned to open the center.

• Shear your hedges in a slightly pyramidal shape to keep them full to the ground. Do not prune in an inverted pyramid shape.

• Pruning sealers are really not necessary. However, they do help to prevent the entry of borers on roses.

• Remember that pruning and disease control go together. One should not be done without the other.

• Sterilize your pruners between plants, using a 10 % bleach solution. Sterilize your pruners between each cut if fire blight or another disease is suspected. This will aid in not spreading the disease. Rinse your pruners after use to avoid corrosion.

Following these suggestions will help you to have beautiful and healthy trees and shrubs. Please share any other pruning tips that you may have learned over the years.