Trees and shrubs are cornerstones of landscape design, but they must be maintained just like your lawn or garden. Pruning maintains plants by cutting away unwanted and unhealthy growth. Similar to cutting your lawn, cutting your plants avoids overcrowding and stimulates healthy growth.
Benefits Of Pruning
Pruning removes dead, diseased, and damaged material from your plants so they can grow freely in a healthy manner. Neglecting your plants’ pruning needs will create unsightly shrubbery that could negatively affect the health of your plants and the safety of your family. When performed properly, however, pruning creates stronger and more beautiful vegetation that everyone will appreciate.
The main objective of pruning is to preserve and promote healthy plant growth. Diseased leaves will spread an infection to healthy parts of the plant, and fungal infections can even be spread to other plants. Removing sick leaves and twigs by clipping them off the plant is one of the best ways to prevent fungal infection in your plants. Aside from disease prevention, pruning also improves plant health by removing dead and dying plant parts, which stimulates development and makes room for new growth.
Even though pruning is primarily performed for its many health benefits, the cosmetic benefits are noticeable immediately. Pruning shrubs and bushes can help create perfectly shaped plants on your property instead of having unsightly, overgrown vegetation. In fact, young ornamental trees are often “trained” via pruning to have their branches grow in certain directions. Training branches takes a great deal of skill and dedication, but even just touching up a few areas of uneven growth can make a world of difference to the appearance of your landscape.
Preventing pests is essentially a byproduct of pruning, but it is actually one of the most effective methods for controlling bugs and insects in your plants. Pruning improves airflow and sunlight exposure as the excess plant matter gets cut away. Pests seek out overgrown bushes and shrubs for protection, so creating more spacious, healthy plants will create less suitable environments for bugs. Additionally, the consistent maintenance and human contact involved in proper pruning will also deter pests and other small critters.
At Brothers, we always make safety our priority, especially when it comes to tree pruning. Pruning trees in populated areas is a necessary landscaping service that could potentially save lives. Branches often grow too low to the ground where they can become a major safety hazard for a passerby. In addition to low-growing branches, weakened or split branches frequently fall down during heavy storms or high winds. Regular pruning can both prevent and repair branch damage.
Methods Of Pruning
One of the most important things to remember before pruning is to check the sharpness of the tools. Dull blades on clippers, loopers, shears, or saws will put a strain on you physically, and they will damage the plant you are trying to prune. Making a clean cut is the best way to ensure healthy regrowth. Other important strategies include cutting at an angle for more effective healing, making cuts just outside of the branch collar, and always removing branches that cross each other or grow inward.
Generally, when talking about the different types of pruning for trees and shrubs, there are four main categories that every landscaper should know. Depending on your property’s aesthetic or practical needs, the following methods of pruning will help you achieve your landscaping goals:
- Thinning – This is the method used to create a thinner looking plant by removing entire branches at their points of origin. Most often, thinning is used for plant parts that are too old, bulky, and/or weak. Thinning increases airflow and light exposure, and it makes way for new growth to take place.
- Topping – Topping typically takes place in order to train immature trees to grow in a certain manner. During this method, practically all branches and growths are removed until only the trunk is left standing. This method can help your young trees achieve certain visual effects, but topping can easily kill your plants if it is done improperly.
- Raising – As one might expect from the name, raising is a method that lifts up branches to create more clearance underneath them. This effect is achieved by removing low-hanging branches until branch growth begins at your desired height.
- Reduction – You’ve probably guessed it from the other methods, but reduction is a method that reduces the overall size of a plant. People may choose to reduce their plants in order to maintain structural integrity, but this method is most often used to cut around power lines and buildings. Reduction is largely achieved by removing leader branches.
When To Prune
Determining when to prune your plants depends on the naturally growing season of each particular plant. Pruning should be avoided during a plant’s peak growing season in order to allow for maximum healthy growth to take place. Instead, try to prune after plants are finished blooming. For example, spring-blooming plants can start being pruned in early summer, and summer-blooming plants could even be pruned in the following spring.
Winter is a popular time to prune trees and shrubs because they go dormant in the cold. Removing dead and dying plant parts in winter allows the plant to be cleaned up before spring arrives and new growth starts to hide areas that need to be pruned. You may find that some plants need heavier pruning than others during the off-season, but even a little light clipping in winter can make more room for healthy vegetation. Click here to identify some common plants and shrubs, or click here to see some pruned ornamental trees.
Pruning to remove dead or diseased plant parts can and should take place as often as needed. No matter what time of year it is or what type of plant you are pruning, unhealthy plant matter should always be removed as soon as possible in order to maintain a healthy plant.
DIY Pruning vs. Professional Pruning Services
Pruning trees or tall shrubs is one of the most dangerous landscaping tasks you can perform at your home. The work involves climbing ladders, handling razor-sharp tools, cutting away heavy branches, and other factors that make tree pruning extremely unsafe for inexperienced landscapers. A professional pruning service will have all the tools and experience needed to get the job done safely, and they will know how to make proper pruning cuts to avoid further damaging your plants.
Call Brothers Lawn Service & Landscaping at (337) 781-7494 for all your pruning needs!