Removing what is unnecessary in order to make room for new and healthy growth is what makes pruning a very essential step in a plant's overall health. When pruning takes place, it allows the plant to heal, repair, and grow into a stronger version. Kind of like when we, as humans, remove something that is weighing us down or causing us stress, the same benefit applies to plants. Allowing the lifeblood of the plant to heal and grow, by the process of pruning, is a necessary and vital step to the plant's health.
So why do it? Well, as plants grow, mature, and produce seeds/fruit/flowers, a little bit of maintenance and love is required from us. Pruning is the act of removing branches, leaves, and buds from a plant in order to make it more attractive, or to maintain its health.
Why take the extra time? Because your plant relies HEAVILY on it. Pruning removes any dead, dying, or diseased portion of the plant and helps to prevent spreading any disease throughout. Pruning also allows more light and air to pass throughout the plant, giving it more nutrients and allowing room for new growth.
Another common reason to prune would be what’s called “training” or “shaping”, which is when you want to shape a tree, hedge, or shrub. Training is accomplished by cutting branches to restrict growth. It also reduces the amount of branches, so an increase in energy and nutrients can go to all the other stems to produce more flowers/fruit.
It's important to remember to research your plant's specific needs, because no plant is the same as the other. However, here are a few guidelines that can assist you when there are no resources at hand:
+ To Prevent Diseases: prune during a dry season (usually the summer) to prevent spreading
+ To Increase Flower/Bud Growth: prune before buds form (late winter/early spring)
+ To Manage Shape: prune in the cooler weather (winter), usually used for evergreens
There are also some general guidelines for what to prune during each season.
+ Late winter is usually a time to prune fruit trees, non-flowering shrubs, trees, hedges, and berried shrubs/trees.
+ Spring is a time to prune any summer flower shrubs that have not bloomed yet.
+ Late spring pruning involves cutting back spring flowering shrubs that have already bloomed.
+ Summer is a great time to prune summer flowers after they have finished blooming.
+ Fall is a great time to prune roses, and also to remove any annuals that are finished with their season.
The two ways to prune your plant are by Heading + Thinning.
+Heading is cutting off part of a branch in order to make the rest of the remaining branch stronger. It is used when new growth is wanted. If you are wanting new growth, you will want to cut the branch/stem just above the bud at an angle, remembering not to cut too close to the bud, but also not too far away. It may sound complicated, but we would be glad to show you how this achieved if you stop by one of our locations here in North Carolina.
+Thinning is cutting off a branch at its origin to prevent any new growth. This could include cutting to the main trunk or even to the ground. Often times a “thinning” technique is used when you are wanting to increase air flow and light to the plant. This helps to prevent diseases and boosts the bud and fruit production.
Pruning is an art that can seem complicated and difficult at first. But, once the basics are learned, it can become a freeing and therapeutic experience. And maybe we, as humans, can take a few principles from pruning, and apply them to our lives to make us stronger and healthier versions of ourselves. Because sometimes removing something, can actually be freeing at the end of it all.
Your GVM Team