Pruning is an art. It’s not about just cutting the branches randomly at will to eliminate the odd branches out. There are correct techniques and specific times for performing it. As the internet memes says “just because you own a smartphone, it doesn’t make you any smarter”.
In the same way, just because you have a pruning scissor a.k.a. Pruning shear and know how to use it doesn’t mean you understand the technique of pruning. The process of pruning isn’t new to anyone, we all know what it is, but understanding how to do it most efficiently is crucial.
There are some simple and basic tips that you may be unaware of or ignoring when it comes to pruning properly.
1. Using a Proper Pruning Tool
I know, what you may be thinking. Isn’t there just one type of pruning scissor? The answer is “Yes” and “No”. If you just look at the variety of Fiskars garden scissors that are available you will find that they all primarily perform the same function, however, they all vary in at least a minimal way concerning their uses.For example, pruning shears are the most effective tools when you have to cut branches that are 3/4 inches in diameter. Apart from this, they are also useful for
- Growing stems
- Removing dry branches and stems
- Cutting stems or branches in stages (convenient for fewer wrists strain)
Apart from pruning shears, there are various other pruning tools such as –
- Loppers – they are most useful for cutting branches up to 2 ½ inches in diameter (particularly for fruit trees, vines or nut trees).
- Pruning Saws – they are adequate for cutting branches up to 1 ½ inch to 5 inches in diameter.
- Hedge Shears – they are useful for cutting small shrubs, evergreens, hedges or deadheading perennials. These tools are used effectively for cutting any hedge shrub or branches that are 2 ¼ inches in diameter.
- Pole Pruner – they are used for cutting branches that are up to 1 ¼ inch thick. These are long pruners and can reach up to a height of 8 feet or more.
2. Knowing When to Prune
Just because the day is sunny and you are feeling fantastic doesn’t mean you will go out and make your tree day miserable. Pruning doesn’t always agree with your mood, you see. It has its specific season or timing to gain the most out of it. Every tree/ flower tree has its specific duration and produces the best result when pruned at the right time. For example, trees that bloom in spring should be pruned after the flowers fall or fade. It’s illogical to prune the tree while it is flourishing to the fullest.
Also, shrubs or trees that are in full blooming form during the period of mid – to late summer should only be pruned after the flowering season. This means that you have to prune them either in winter or the early spring season.
3. Knowing How to Cut the Branches Properly
It’s not as easy and as it looks when it comes to cutting the branches. It requires a precise cutting area where it can allow faster healing process for the tree. Most people usually cut the infected or dead branches at will for the sake of clearing the unwanted branches, but in reality, there is so much more than just cropping.
Don’t cut too close to the trunk or too far away from the trunk of the tree. The most efficient way to crop the branches is by cutting where the branch and the trunk meet. This enables a quick healing process so that the tree growth isn’t disturbed even after pruning.
4. Be Sure to Wear All Safety Equipment
No amount of technique is going to help you if you do not take safety precautions. Pruning is particularly dangerous for your hands and eyes. You have to deal with branches and splinters poking your eyes and using pruners for prolonged duration can strain your wrists. Make sure you wear protective gears such as gloves and glasses before you start pruning.
If the pruning requires climbing tall trees or using a chainsaw, it is best to let a trained arborist do the job for you.