Former Springfield RV dealer faces up to 15 years in prison

Time to sharpen the pruning tools

When it comes to pruning plants, many gardeners panic, saying they are not sure they know what to do.

No worries. It’s really pretty easy once you know the basics.

There are several reasons for pruning your landscape trees and shrubs. One of the most common reasons is that a plant is overgrown and needs some shaping up.

Another reason to prune is to open up fruit trees so that the sunlight can penetrate the canopy; this leads to increased fruit production.

Removing damaged or diseased wood, removing pest problems, improving appearance and ensuring health and structural soundness are other reasons to prune.

Pruning deciduous trees when they are young will help ensure a good sound branch structure in later years.

To get started pruning deciduous trees, make sure you have the right equipment. Pruning shears or hand shears are great for small branches, under one-half inch.

Branches that are a half inch to an inch should be pruned with longer-handled loppers and anything over an inch should be pruned with a saw.

Warning: don’t use a chainsaw unless you have personal protection and have gone through some type of chain saw training. Bad accidents can happen.

Start by removing any broken or damaged, diseased branches.

After you do this, step back and view the tree. Are there branches that are crossing each other or branches that are growing into the center of the tree? If so, pick a few to remove. Start with those that are crossing each other and then take a few out that are growing toward the middle of the tree.

Step back again and look at the overall tree. Do the branches have good crotch angles? Crotch angles are the angle where the branch comes out of the trunk of the tree.

The perfect crotch angle is between 45 and 60 degrees. A narrow crotch angle results in weak branches.

Therefore, look for any branches that have narrow crotch angles and remove a few of them.

Step back again. You shouldn’t remove more than one-third of the branches in a single year.

Doing this encourages a lot of regrowth that will have to be addressed the next time you prune.

If you haven’t removed more than one-third, continue opening up the center of the tree and removing narrow crotch angles until you reach this mark.

Make good pruning cuts. Don’t leave stubs and don’t cut flush to the trunk. You will notice a ring around the base of the branch; cut at this ring. It’s also called the branch bark collar.

If you have two branches coming together at the trunk, cut one of the branches straight across rather than in the middle. In other words, shoot for the smallest cut possible.

Next week more on pruning shrubs, including rejuvenation pruning.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Home Garden

4 AMAZING chip-and-dip combos in Dayton
4 AMAZING chip-and-dip combos in Dayton

What’s better than a tasty chip? The dip you smother it in, of course. To celebrate National Chip & Dip day, head to one of these Dayton-area eateries for some of the best dip you’ve ever tasted. We’re not exactly sure about the secret blend of ingredients, but the Herbie dip is nothing short of amazing. The dip, which seems...
Cutting back perennials and pruning roses
Cutting back perennials and pruning roses

Last Sunday and Monday were perfect days to prune. In addition to pruning trees and shrubs, it’s also time to cut back perennials, including roses. If any of my perennials look good through the winter, I don’t prune the foliage back to the ground in the fall. Plants with winter interest include ornamental grasses, some coneflowers, sedum...
It’s Bavarian Crepe Day — and here’s where you can indulge in Dayton
It’s Bavarian Crepe Day — and here’s where you can indulge in Dayton

Today is National Bavarian Crepe Day. Also known as palatschinke, this type of crepe differs from the traditional French crepe because its batter “rests” before using. French crepe batter is immediately used. What you get is a slightly more fluffy crepe. But this isn’t “National Palatschinke Day,” so we can celebrate...
Cat reunited with owner 14 years after hurricane disappearance
Cat reunited with owner 14 years after hurricane disappearance

Perry Martin probably can’t stop pondering about his cat. In 2004, the orange tabby Thomas 2, or simply just “T2,” disappeared. It happened when the Fort Pierce man moved into a friend’s house in Stuart after Hurricane Jeanne stormed through the area, according to TCPalm. The retired K-9 officer grieved, but then came...
Why is it called Good Friday and what’s so good about it?
Why is it called Good Friday and what’s so good about it?

Christians believe Jesus was mocked publicly and crucified on a solemn Friday more than two thousand years ago. Today, the calamitous day is celebrated as Good Friday. But what’s so good about that? One answer is that at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion, “good” may have referred to “holy” in Old English, a linguistic...
More Stories