The Essential Pruning Guide For Every Gardener!

Posted by on Nov 16, 2015 in Gardening, Landscaping | Comments Off on The Essential Pruning Guide For Every Gardener!

The Essential Pruning Guide For Every Gardener!

As the saying goes, “Pruning is one of the best things an arborist can do for a tree but one of the worst things we can do to a tree”. Pruning essentially wounds the plant, but if done correctly, it will contribute to the health and productivity of the plant. Here are some tips on how to make pruning more effective.

Plan Your Approach

Before going ahead with the job of pruning, it is advisable to have a plan to make it more successful. First, you have to take into consideration the reason for your cutting – whether it is to enhance appearance, improve sunlight and air penetration, control the size, or stimulate production of the plant. This step is helpful in order to determine what type of cut and tool to use. Second is to make the cuts in a certain order so that the total number of cuts is reduced. It is important that only necessary cuts are made in the plant to avoid damage and allow the wound to heal.

Know When to Prune

Pruning can be done all year long. But in order for it to be most effective, different plants need to be pruned in different times of the year. It is a common misconception that pruning at the wrong time of the year will kill the plant. Although, continual improper pruning may result to damaged or weakened plants. Here are some of the suggested timings for each type of plant.

Early Spring:

  • Ornamental Grasses
  • Perennials – semi woody such as butterfly bush and Russian sage
  • Evergreens – broad-leaved such as boxwood and holly firethorn
  • Flowers – summer-flowering trees, shrubs, vines, hydrangea, and roses

Early Summer:

  • Evergreen Shrubs – yews, juniper, boxwood
  • Flowering Shrubs – forsythia, rhododendron, lilacs


  • Flowering Perennials and Annuals – lavender, forget-me-not, cone flower, petunias, sweet peas, zinnias


  • Deciduous Trees and Evergreens – oak, maple, hickory, chestnut, hemlock, red cedar

Determine the Right Tool for the Job

It is equally important to select the right tools for pruning as it is to understand the pruning techniques and timing. Having quality equipment that is suited for your cutting needs does not only benefit your plants but you as a gardener as well. We will discuss the available pruning tools in more detail later on. Remember to also keep your equipments clean at all times. It is best to store them in a dry room, keep them sharp, and disinfect them after using.

Understand the Correct Way of Pruning

Making clean and smooth cuts encourage the rapid healing of wounds in plants. In order to achieve this, you will need a good sharp pruning tool use the proper way of cutting. Here are some things to remember in pruning a plant or tree:

  • Identify the major branches that make up the plant and avoid the removal of those branches.
  • The first things you should remove are those branches that show signs of damage. This is important so that the nutrients they are taking can be redistributed to the remaining healthy branches.
  • Thin out the areas that are thick with branches. Opening up the plant will help air and sunlight penetrate the entire plant and avoid the buildup of fungus and pests.
  • Make as few cuts as possible. Each cut made to a plant reduces its protection and consequently opens it up to possible insect and fungus infestation. As a guide, never remove more than 25% of the plant or tree’s branches. As much as possible, do not prune more than once in a year. You should always give time for the plant or tree to recover.

Pruning Tools

The keys to a successful pruning of plants are a basic understanding of pruning techniques and knowing when to prune. But all of these cannot be achieved, of course, without having the right set of tools for the job. There are different types of pruning shears that are best suited for a particular plant size, material, or condition.

Hand Pruning Shears

Also called Pruning Shears, hand pruners are used for cutting branches of up to ¾ inch in diameter. There are 2 types of hand pruning shears:

  • Bypass Pruning Shears – this is the scissor-type that has curved blades that overlap (scissor action) when making the cut.
  • Anvil Pruner – this type of pruning shears has straight upper blade that cut against flat lower plate (anvil).

Generally, bypass pruning shears are more recommended than anvil pruners as the latter tend to crush stems as they cut. The width of the anvil also prevents you from reaching in for a close cut on narrow-angled stems. On the other hand, bypass pruning shears can produce close, clean cuts.

Lopping Shears

Lopping shears are used to cut branches that are ¾ to 1 ¾ inches in diameter, where hand pruners may result to torn, jagged pruning cuts. Also called Loppers, this tool has long handles that gives extra reach and better cutting leverage. There are also loppers with ratchet joints or those with gears as well as shock-absorbing bumpers between the blades that can be used for heavy duty pruning jobs.

Pole Pruners

Pole pruners are used to cut branches of up to 2 inches in diameter. They are essentially saw blades attached to stationary hooks which are mounted on long wooden or aluminum poles. A cord or chain is used to control the cutting action of the spring-loaded blade. Pole pruners can be used to reach branches that are 12 feet or higher, when they are fully extended.

Pruning Saws

For larger branches that are greater than 1 ¾ inches in diameter, pruning saws can be used. They come in different sizes and shapes for different purposes. They can either have straight or curved blades and fine or course teeth. Typically, finely-toothed curved pruning saw is used to remove branches of up to 2 ½ inches in diameter while coarsely-toothed saw is used for heavy branches that are 3 inches or more in diameter.

Chain Saws

Chain saws are used for branches that are greater than 3 inches in diameter, normally used by professionals to cut large tree branches. They come in different types and sizes, either powered by gasoline or electricity. When choosing the right chain saw for the job, take into consideration that the size of the engine and length of the blade determine the branch diameter through which you can cut.

Hedge Clippers

Also called Hedge Shears, hedge clippers are used to cut formal hedges to a definite size and shape. They are not typically used in pruning trees and shrubs.

It is important to remember that a high quality tool does a more effective job in pruning and lasts longer specially when maintained properly. You should not forget to take care of your tools so in turn, they can take care of your plants.

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Building a Raised Garden Bed – Things you should Know

Posted by on Jul 30, 2015 in Gardening, Landscaping | Comments Off on Building a Raised Garden Bed – Things you should Know

Building a Raised Garden Bed – Things you should Know

Building a raised garden bed is a great decision because it offers several benefits. The garden can act as a source of healthier vegetable and it is also easier to maintain compared to a traditional garden. In order to get the best results, there are certain things you should know. This article provides you with some of these things.


One thing you must know is that you have to build it in the right location. Therefore, you need to build it in a place where there is enough sunlight. This is because the crops must have sunlight in order for them to grow. Different crops require different levels of sunlight, therefore, you need to do research to understand the amount of sunlight the crops you want to plant require for them to grow effectively. The good thing about raised garden bed is that it is easy to maintain thus you need to choose a location that offers easy access from all directions. This makes it easier for you when you are planting and weeding.

Raised_BedMaterials to use

You must use the right materials when building the garden bed. Rough cut and untreated lumber can warp when the weather is cold, for example, during the winter season. The materials also rot when exposed to a lot of water making it ineffective when building a raised garden bed. You need to use frame it all composite timber that use a mixture of wood fiber and ultra violet protected polypropylene. This material is effective because they do not splinter and do not rot or warp. In addition, they do not contain any chemicals used by pressure treated wood. This makes your crop safe because they are not exposed to such toxic substances.

Size and shape

Just like when you are building other types of gardens, you must understand the size that you want. This will be highly determined by the amount of the space you have and the types of crops you want to plant. This is because different plants require different space requirements. Carry out thorough research to determine this so that you can build a garden of the right size. Note that if your crops are too congested they will not grow well because they will compete for the limited resources.


Type of soil

To ensure you get the best results from your garden, it is important to ensure you use the right type of soil for your crops to grow effectively. One advantage is that raised gardens offer you the opportunity to select the soil that you want to use. The best way is to use a mixture of different types of soil such as loam soil, gravel and others.


You should also know that you do not have to complicate the building process. You just need a simpler modular construction of its frame. Make sure that you assemble all the frames effectively so that your garden can last for long without getting damaged. This will also protect your crops from frequent disturbances as you try to reconstruct the damaged garden.

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