Trimming, pruning and deadheading is essential to your plants’ health, whether you have a veritable forest in your yard or just a few decorative shrubs. It’s best to rely on a reputable tree-trimming business, but that doesn’t give you those feel-good vibes of getting your hands dirty and working with the earth. If you prefer to DIY, the first thing you need to consider is the shape or “habit” of your shrubs and trees—they’re telling you how they want to be trimmed. |
Remember that when you snip tips, that stimulates growth. Shoots grow in an outward projection, so when tips are taken away, the buds are encouraged to grow. You’ll find buds at nodes, which is where leaves connect to branches/twigs. For every node, you’ll have up to three buds. Growth habits for shrubs fall into one of three categories:
• Cane: Shrubs which spread by shooting up new branches (canes) right from the base. • Mounding: Shrubs that have flexible and soft stems with tiny leaves. • Tree-like: These are woodier with branches that are divided. Pruning 101
You have two options when it comes to pruning: thinning or heading. With thinning, you’re taking off branches where they’re attached. When done properly, you can minimize shrub density without encouraging more growth. With heading, you want to stimulate growth—which means you need to carefully choose where to cut in order to stimulate growth at the right point. If it’s done poorly, the result will be fast growth in unattractive places.
It’s no wonder leaving it to the professionals is best! However, those with a green thumb who want to try pruning should make sure to cut in a sloping manner precisely 1/4-inch above any buds. Cut too steep or too close and you can kill the bud. Remove any inward-facing buds, and if you’re thinning, make sure to stick to the side branches. Also keep in mind that paint or wound dressing isn’t necessary, even if there’s a killer deal on it at the local greenhouse. They do nothing to stop decay or actually close the wound.
Time for a Snip
When you prune is just as important as how you prune. Your timing will kick-start different responses from your shrubs. For example, late winter (prior to bud break) is often the best time for most species. On the other hand, shrubs that bloom in the spring should be pruned right after flowering. If you prune in the summer, you can slow down the growth of foliage, while autumn pruning encourages fast growth (perfect for preventing winter cold damage).
If this seems like a lot of work, it is! Getting an expert to trim your plants is the best, fastest and least stressful way to ensure a beautiful landscape year-round.
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