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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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:
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 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 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.
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 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.
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.