Pruning - What you need to know
If we left trees and plants growing wild and free, your garden could end up turning into a wild beast full of unmanageable trees and bushes, with multiple branches in every direction and large weak limbs crashing to the ground. As you can imagine this could cause safety risks and likely have the neighbours complaining.
Instead, we want to encourage strong structures and direct new, healthy and secure growth of our plants and trees. We can achieve this through pruning, by selectively removing parts of plants or trees, such as branches, buds and roots.
Keeping the trees around your home pruned and tidy not only lifts and cleans the look of your garden, but has multiple benefits, such as;
- No more unsightly dead, broken or damaged branches
- Encouraging trees to create healthy and new growth
- Shape train trees not to grow into power lines and over your gutters
- Removes any dangerous or eye-height branches
- Gifts your tree a strong foundation and sustaining health
- Increases the yield / quality of fruit and flowers
Most importantly, pruning saves yourself, your neighbours and your property from potential harm and damage caused from fallen branches.
When to Prune
Early Spring is the best time to prune according to experts. It is at this time that plants are experiencing rapid growth and ensures that ‘wounds’ caused from pruning can be healed faster and avoid disease or damage to the plants.
Most trees will drop their leaves coming into colder months, making Autumn a perfect time to be able to clearly see the branches and complete a great pruning job!
Here’s a breakdown of the most common types of pruning methods:
- Thinning; removes limbs all the way back to their branch of origin allowing more sunlight to come through.
- Cleaning; cuts to clear out dead, diseased, and damaged limbs to give the tree a tidy look.
- Reduction; pruning to reduce a tree’s height or width.
- Structural; cuts could involve multiple methods to improve a plant’s structural health.
Don’t skip under-pruning as part of tree maintenance. This is the removal of low branches to expose the trunk. Doing this gives trees a great natural look with clear definition between trunk and the canopy. It also allows the lawn or plants below to receive enough light, air and rain to prosper.
Here are our top tips for pruning;
- Remove dying branches
- Trim limbs or shoots growing towards the centre of a tree or plant
- Cut off narrow angled branches
- Take out limbs that rub against each other
- Make cuts close to the branch
- Make sure you are not leaving any stubs, as stubs invite decay
It is important that you try and crop back all branches so that the centre of the tree gets light and air can circulate better.
Take good care of these tools, keep them clean and keep them sharp. Washing them with soap between trees and spraying them with disinfectant to stop the spread of disease is important (yep, even plants have a strong ‘wash your tools’ policy in place).
Lastly, why not hang on to cuttings and thick branches. You can mulch these to add to your garden, add to your compost heap or even to pop into your fireplace to keep you warm through winter!