When the weather warms and the days grow longer, trees, plants and shrubs begin to grow and with it comes the need to prune them. Pruning is one of the most important aspects in keeping your plants healthy and in shape. There are four main benefits to pruning. The first is the removal of dead or dying branches. Next are the removal of diseased branches, then the removal of crowding branches and finally the removal of non-symmetrical branches. In Florida and other warm weather states the climate allows for year round pruning but the best times for most trees and shrubs is mid to late winter before new growth has emerged. If you are new or inexperienced at pruning don't worry about making a mistake. As one old gardener once told me, "Unless it is a significant or structural branch that is trimmed, bad pruning jobs are like getting a bad haircut, the plant will grow back." Regular pruning will result in a healthier plant in the long run.
Things You Will Need
Pruning shears, Long handles shears, Limb saw, Limb saw with an extension pole, Hedge trimmer
If you have any trees or plants that are near power lines or need permits to trim, I recommend that you get professional help. Working around power lines can prove to be deadly.
The first step to actual pruning is to step back and visualize what you want the plant to look like. Decide which branches need to be removed to achieve your goal. Knowing the growth pattern of the plant will be beneficial at this step.
Begin pruning by cutting the dead or dying branches. Remove the diseased branches being careful not to bring them in contact with healthy branches to possibly pass on the pathogens. Use a separate pair of pruning shears or carefully disinfect them before cutting healthy branches.
Remove grounding branches, (those growing toward the ground). This will help the tree or shrub maintain an upright appearance. Remove branches that are growing into each other and remove some of the interior branches to allow light to penetrate.
Step back periodically and observe how the shape of the plant is developing. Make any necessary adjustments to achieve your desired shape.
Pruning is one of the most important aspects in keeping your plants healthy and in shape. Regular pruning will result in a healthier plant in the long run.
Tips & Warnings
Keep your pruning tools clean and sharp. Learn the growth patterns of your plants.
Do not allow diseased branches to come in contact with healthy branches.