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

Bipartisan group improving Ohio’s outdoors opportunities
Bipartisan group improving Ohio’s outdoors opportunities

A bipartisan effort to improve Ohio’s 3,000-plus-mile network of trails, headed in part by a Warren County state lawmaker, has been an example for other states in driving improvement of outdoors opportunities, officials said. The bipartisan Ohio Legislative Trails Caucus, thought to be the first of its kind, is headed by two state senators, Steve...
Low-carb diets can help keep the weight off, study says
Low-carb diets can help keep the weight off, study says

There are several diets that promote weight loss, including low-carb plans. Now experts have more evidence to prove they work, according to a new report.  Researchers from Boston Children’s Hospital recently conducted a small study, published in the British Medical Journal, to determine the link between weight loss maintenance...
These jobs have the highest suicide rates in the country, CDC says
These jobs have the highest suicide rates in the country, CDC says

Jobs can be stressful, but there are some that cause more of a mental strain than others, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The agency recently conducted a study to determine the occupational groups with the highest suicide rates. To do so, they examined data from 17 states that participated...
How you can help Legendary Lights of Clifton Mill earn national bragging rights
How you can help Legendary Lights of Clifton Mill earn national bragging rights

For more than 30 years, Clifton Mill has been a glowing example of what the holiday season is about in Southwest Ohio.  The official Ohio.org website published its Ohio Holiday Lights Trail list, and Clifton Mill was near the top of most spectacular light shows in the state. The recognition comes just in time, as Clifton Mill is in the running...
The best Amazon Black Friday deals of 2018
The best Amazon Black Friday deals of 2018

Not a fan of the chaos that inevitably comes with in-person Black Friday shopping? » RELATED: Amazon offers free shipping for all during 2018 holiday season If you’d rather get in on the fun from the comfort of your couch or bed, e-commerce giant Amazon has plenty of deals for its customers just in time for the holidays....
More Stories