Pruning Made Easy

Guide to pruning made easy, including procedures for removing a large branch, pruning fruit plants, deciduous bushes, hedges and trees.

| February/March 2003

Pruning made easy, these helpful tips will guide you when pruning plants, shrubs, hedges and trees.

Guide to Pruning Made Easy

Do you nip with caution when pruning a plants Or do you ruthlessly attack? No matter what approach you take, sometimes you just have to prune your plants. Here are the most basic pruning principles to follow for fruit-producing plants, other deciduous trees and shrubs, and evergreens.

Removing a Large Branch

Use sharp tools no matter what type of plant you're pruning. Sharp tools make cleaner cuts that heal more quickly. Make cuts on an angle and just above a node, where the leaf attaches to the stem.

If you want to encourage branching, use heading cuts to shorten existing stems. If you want to open an area to light and air, use thinning cuts to completely remove some stems.

On any plant, if you find stems or branches that are dead, diseased or damaged, always cut them down to healthy tissue. That said, let's move on to pruning guidelines for various categories of plants.

Pruning Fruit Trees

Pruning is most critical for fruit trees. Young fruit trees need a strong framework on which to hang their fruits and to ensure their branches bask in plenty of sugar-producing sunlight. Pruning fruit plants lessens disease problems and, by removing some fruits, pumps more flavor and size into those that remain. With few exceptions, prune fruit plants while they are dormant.

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