The WHY of pruning for trees, bushes and shrubs

Beautiful forest that needs pruning to stay healthyLooking around our small patch of forest and land, I always see projects and more projects. Most are hour long, some are day long but most of our projects tend to be on-going and never ending. One of those involves pruning what we have growing.

What is pruning?

Merriam Webster defines it as: to trim (a tree, shrub, or bush) by cutting away dead or overgrown branches or stems, especially to increase fruitfulness and growth. There are many reasons to prune your plants.

Why prune?

For centuries, gardeners have used pruning techniques to help maintain healthy, good looking and productive plants. A good pruning will help to encourage new growth where you want it.

Diagram showing suggested pruning pointsBy removing branch stubs, crossed (or rubbing) branches, or branches that may be dead, injured (such as by disease, insect infestation, weather or animals) or dying, you can help the plant’s systems to return it to full health.

Landscapers prune not only for the health of the plant but to maintain shape, size and even fruit and flower development. In part, the art of bonsai is just good pruning!

Pruning in a treeAs a homeowner, pruning can even be a matter of safety for house and property. Trimming away branches that overhang the home can prevent much damage during a high wind or winter storm. Pruning branches or plants that can potentially block lights, paths or entry ways can open up your field of vision around your home. Cutting away those few branches that always seem to reach out to snag you can make walking your property a lot more pleasant.

From rose bushes to fruit trees, from shrubs to large trees, every one of them could do with a good pruning at some point in the year. Look around, can you see where pruning may help?

Stay tuned for the next part of this series, Pruning, WHEN it should be done