Pruning: What is it?

pruningPruning is simply the selective trimming of trees and shrubs. There are two basic purposes for pruning – one is to remove dead or diseased portions of the plant, such as winter-damaged branches or pest effected portions of the tree or shrub; the other is to shape the plant for controlling or directing its growth.

Regardless of the main reason for pruning, it’s vital for producing healthy plants because it removes excess and damaged branches, roots, and buds, enabling plants to put their energy into producing healthy new growth as well as more buds and flowers. Proper pruning removes not only diseased and damaged portions of plants, it can also eliminate energy-sapping, non-productive and unattractive parts; reduce the risk of human injury from weak, dangerous overhanging branches; and prepare young nursery plants for transportation and transplanting. It’s always preferable when pruning to shape a plant, to do it when the plant is young whenever possible. It’s generally easier and offers better opportunities to successfully shape a plant when it’s young and has more easier-to-prune branches and shoots then trying to do it by pruning large, often inconveniently placed branches on mature plants.

Pruning techniques vary depending on the purpose and from plant to plant. Plants being grown specifically for their flowers or fruit, such as rosebushes and fruit trees, each have their own specialized pruning techniques. Individual shrub pruning is different from the regular pruning, periodic trimming required by hedges.

Humans aren’t the only ones who perform pruning – nature does a pretty good job of it, too. High winds, heavy winter snow and ice, and even salinity in the groundwater can cause trees and shrubs to self-prune, eliminating their own unnecessary or unsustainable portions to help plants conserve their energy and perform self-preservation in the face of harsh conditions and environments.

Of course, if you lack the tools, knowledge, or confidence to successfully prune, you can always call a pruning professional, such as Manning Tree & Landscape. Our pruning experts have years of experience pruning a wide range of plants to help them maintain their health and attractiveness.