How do you prune plants? Perhaps a question we should ask at the same time is, why do we prune plants?
Most of us “gardeners” like to see how much we can help our plants build into beautiful shrubbery and flowers. It is fun to know that by tactical “pruning” you have added health to a plant and increased its beauty.
Pruning is essentially the act of discarding old plant materials to allow the plant’s resources to build new growth.
Another way of saying that is when a plant has been alive awhile it usually has parts that are older and less vibrant than other parts of the plant. You probably have seen plants that look tired and have a dichotomy of looks. Part of the plant looks vibrant and green and other parts look dark green or brown.
This is due to the fact that these older “stems” are not able to maintain what is fed to them by the root system as well as they once could.
As the gardener, what we do is to “prune” the plant.
This procedure may require a saw, clippers, trimmers or even an electric trimmer for power. It depends on the size of the plant keeping in mind that a tree is a plant.
The idea is to identify branches or stems that are dead or have slowed down in their functioning. Once they are identified, then it is time to remove them by cutting them off. Also it doesn’t hurt to even take a look at the healthier growth of the plant on a minor basis.
What now happens is that the root system can more easily feed what is left of the vegetation on the plant; that is the stems and/or branches.
So pruning then is the act of removing damaged or old foliage from a plant in order to strengthen it. This ongoing procedure will make a garden or landscape get stronger and stronger.
How do you do it? You simply remove the foliage with the correct tool for that size.
I was taught to cut the heavier stems such as branches at an angle as opposed to just a straight cut. This is better for the plant because it protects the plant.
On extremely large or dead branches, it is necessary to apply some protection via coating after cutting the branch off to prevent the tree from losing sap and also to prevent bugs and other pests from irreversibly damaging the tree.
Plants and extremely small foliage can be removed by just clipping them.
My reality is that too much is better than too little. Plants that don’t have too much to feed are incredibly strong and bounce back from your intervention.
It is a great idea if you are a beginning gardener to go to a nursery and get some instruction. Also, park districts often have classes on gardening.
Pruning is a task that is something the gardener can do that will make a visible and fast difference in the health and looks of their plant life.