Why You Should Prune:
Pruning dead, injured and diseased limbs from your plants helps keep them strong and healthy. Dead limbs can break in storms and damage other parts of the plant (or your house, if we are talking about trees).
Pruning helps in producing larger, healthier flowers and fruit. Keeping a plant from overproducing also helps keep the plant healthy. Overproduction can weaken plants.
Pruning to shape trees and bushes makes for a nicer looking garden.
Pruning for space keeps your plants from running wild and taking over the lawn or garden.
Pruning can help restore vigor to older trees and shrubs, as well as improving appearance.
When You Should Prune:
The best time to prune is during the plant’s dormant season, generally in the winter.
The exceptions are ornamental trees and shrubs grown especially for their spring flowers. Most of these should be pruned just after they bloom in the spring so the flowering buds are not removed.
Evergreen plants can be pruned any time of year, but the best time is late winter or late summer just before seasonal new growth begins.
Evergreen plants susceptible to frost damage should be pruned after there is any danger of frost.
Tip: when you purchase a plant, ask us the best time to prune it.
Dead, injured, or diseased limbs should be pruned immediately.
Use hand shears for branches Â¼ inch in diameter and smaller.
Loppers are for larger jobs. The longer handles give you longer reach and better leverage. You can use these for branches up to about 2″ on softwoods, less on hard woods (depending on the size and strength of the loppers â€” and you).
Use pruning saws for larger branches.
You might need a chain saw, or a professional tree cutter, for very large branches.
The sharper the tool, the better. Using dull or rusty tools can harm the plant rather than help it.
When pruning dormant plants, dormant spraying should be done immediately after pruning. If you feel lazy and decide to wait for a few days, you may find that new growth has begun to emerge. Your dormant spray will damage that tender new growth, setting your plant back and possibly resulting in deformed growth.
When removing diseased limbs, get them away from the plant immediately and do not use the leaves for mulch, as that could spread the disease.