When and how to prune trees and shrubs

Pruning garden plants is aerobatics, illiterate actions can lead not only to a weakening of the fruiting of trees and shrubs, but also to their protracted illness or death. At different times of the year, plants are pruned for a specific purpose, everything is important here — the technology for performing work (methods of pruning trees), the use of a certain tool, the correct treatment of wound surfaces. And also — cleaning up the garbage left after pruning is an important and significant thing, but first things first. 

Garden routine: pruning trees

To begin with, it should be noted that horticultural crops need pruning for several reasons:

  • Keeping a compact form — for some garden plants, the crown of which was originally set (for example, curly hedges, topiaries), periodic shearing is required, the procedure allows you to remove too long shoots.
  • Plant rejuvenation, crown thinning — this procedure is carried out in the garden annually. On mature trees, branches growing inside the crown are removed, tops are cut out. Fruited raspberry shoots are cut at soil level.
  • Removal of diseased or broken branches — shoots affected by infectious diseases are to be pruned. It is necessary to file in a timely manner frostbitten or wind-broken branches in the crown.
  • Formation of garden bonsai — young plants intended for landscape decoration should be cut periodically, giving them the desired shape.
  • Formation of bushes and crowns of trees for better fruiting — vines and fruit trees are pruned annually. 
  • What garden crops need pruning

    Many horticultural crops need pruning at least once a year, but some green pets need extra attention and crown treatment 3 to 5 times per season. It is worth planning this procedure depending on which plants are planted in the garden plot. This procedure is recommended for the following crops: 

  • Spring flowering trees and shrubs: rhododendrons, forsythia, lilacs, but it should be noted that crops that bloom on last year’s shoots may stop producing buds with cardinal pruning.
  • Summer flowering crops — you can prune those types of plants that are capable of a second wave of flowering after the procedure (for example, remontant roses of the floribunda group, grandiflora, hybrid tea, bush, climbing, mini; lagerstremia).
  • Fruit trees and shrubs: pear, apple, raspberries, gooseberries, currants.
  • A group of deciduous ornamental plants: oak, ash, elm.
  • Coniferous and evergreen garden plants: mahonia, yew, holly, juniper, cypress. 
  • Pruning of fruit trees is especially important when the crown skeleton is formed in the seedlings. Garden figurative trees and shrubs are carefully and systematically cut — topiaries are used to decorate the landscape and create hedges or high borders. 

    When is the best time to prune trees and shrubs?

    The timing of pruning trees depends on its purpose, I would like to note that this operation can be performed in spring, autumn or summer. Sometimes it is necessary to cut broken branches in winter, when excessive snow caps cause breaking off weak shoots. 

    Attention! The most inopportune time for pruning shoots of ornamental and fruit plants is from late summer to early autumn. At this time, the life cycle of plants slows down, rebuilds for a period of long winter dormancy, so it is better not to start pruning that stimulates growth processes. 

    There are three main types of pruning of garden plants, which are performed at different times: 

  • Sanitary pruning — carried out at the end of winter, when frost-damaged, broken or rotten branches are removed. In summer, the need for sanitation of the crowns may come due to strong winds and heavy rains, as well as broken tree branches are cut out after a bountiful harvest. Timely sanitary pruning of fruit trees prevents the development of fungal infections, reduces the likelihood of plant infection with viruses and bacteria. 
  • Formative pruning — helps to form a harmonious crown of a young tree or bush, while improving air exchange and ventilation, which reduces the risk of plant infection with pathogenic microflora. The thinned crowns of trees are better illuminated by the sun, each fruit receives its share of ultraviolet light, which ultimately increases the yield. In ornamental crops, constant formative pruning helps maintain the appearance and desired shape of the plant. It is especially important to cut borders and topiary, because even one sloppy branch sticking out to the side spoils the appearance of the garden landscape. 
  • Anti-aging pruning — helps to extend the life of fruit trees. Nothing is eternal, and garden plants grow old. If you do not rejuvenate apple and pear trees about once every 5-6 years, you can forget about the harvest. The fruits on old trees become smaller, lose their taste, and are more often affected by diseases. Other horticultural crops can be rejuvenated every 3-4 years. You can restore youth to trees in the spring. 
  • Tools are everything

    When choosing tools for pruning a garden, it is worth remembering that the blades must be sharp. Do not injure the living tissue of plants! 

    So, most often gardeners use to work in the garden:

  • Pruners — distinguish between a tool for various purposes (for cutting vegetables, fruits, grass, thin branches, thorns), but the most convenient is a universal pruner. With this tool, you can perform a wide range of work. There are secateurs with one-sided or two-sided cutting. The former are intended for pruning live powerful branches, the latter for grass, flowers and thin annual growths.
  • Lopper — the tool looks like a large pruner with long handles. It is used for thinning and forming the crown of mature trees. With the help of a lopper, it is easy to get to the branches and branches hidden in the thick of the crown.
  • Scissors — indispensable for harvesting, cutting flowers and herbs.
  • Saws — used for cutting thick knots, parts of the trunk, large branches. Hand tools can be used on live and dry wood, but gasoline or electric saws can only be used on dead dry trees.
  • Knives — there are grafting and trimming. The former are used for grafting a scion onto a stock, the latter for cleaning knots, trimming dead wood, smoothing uneven cuts, and performing other operations.
  • Brush cutters — scissors with long handles, used when trimming hedges and topiary, there are mechanical, electric, battery, gasoline models. 
  • General requirements for tools for pruning trees and shrubs: blade sharpness; safe operation; handle comfort; light weight; bright color of the handle; tapered blade edges. 

    Important! Sharp tool blades are 50% of successful pruning. Never mutilate live plant branches with a dull knife or pruner. It is worth taking care of a suitable set of garden tools in advance. Pruning leaves wounds: how to help a tree

    When pruning garden trees on living tissue, as well as in the treatment of bark cracks after mechanical damage or frost cracks, the wood receives significant wound surfaces through which pathogenic bacteria, viruses or fungi can penetrate into plants. To prevent this from happening, the sections are treated with special means, the most tested and popular among which is garden var. You can also use a clay talker with the addition of fungicides, oil paint based on drying oil. 

    Manufacturers have come to the aid of gardeners, now in garden centers you can buy modern tools that help trees heal wounds quickly. These are the natural Zhivica preparation, Robin Green bio-balm, RanNet preparation and others. The use of ready-made products reduces the healing time of wounds, and also saves time for other work. 

    Important! Do not cover the wounds on the branches immediately after sawing, the surface should not be wet! 

    The procedure is carried out no earlier than 2-3 days after pruning trees or shrubs. Pre-treat the tree trunk in the places where the branches were cut with fungicides, dry it, only after that you can start covering the wounds. 

    Finally, I would like to recall the rules for the compatibility of trees and shrubs. After all, almost every novice gardener once faces a similar question. Experienced gardeners know that trees of different species get along differently with each other. Some are very selfish and do not like the neighborhood of any trees, while others, on the contrary, get along well or even positively influence each other. So let’s find out which fruit trees can be planted nearby and which cannot.

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