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Pruning Shrubs – Why Prune With Examples

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    Your shrubs have been steadily increasing in height over the past few years, and now that they have reached their mature size, it is time to prune them back. Pruning is a fantastic strategy to help maintain the health of the plants, but it also helps enhance air circulation and reduces the growth of weeds.

    The dormant season, which begins in late fall or early winter and continues until early spring, is the ideal time of year for pruning shrubs because there is less chance of precipitation or melting snow falling on the plants during this time of year.

    It is essential to prune the branches that you want removed as well as any branches that are sick or dead. Doing so will ensure that fresh shoots grow in a stronger and healthier manner than they did previously.

    What are the steps to take to get from being a gardener who is competent to one who is confident? Pruning! The thought of tackling this yard chore fills the minds of many people with dread, but in reality, it is a straightforward and satisfying operation.

    To become an expert at pruning shrubs, all that is required of you is an understanding of a few fundamental principles that underlie the when, why, and how of the process. When you put these tips and tricks into action in your garden, you'll notice that it immediately improves in terms of health and floral production. So let's get started!

    Why Prune?

    In order to provide a response to this question, it is necessary to have an understanding of the physiological effects that are caused by pruning. To begin, plants are predisposed to exhibit apical dominance due to their genetic makeup. This is a botanical word that describes the obvious fact that plants constantly desire to grow upward, regardless of the conditions.

    The terminal bud, also known as the bud at the end of each stem, is responsible for maintaining apical dominance because it provides a steady supply of hormones that inhibit the growth of the buds that are located below it.

    After the removal of that terminal bud, the secretion of those hormones that suppressive the lower buds stops, and the lower buds are then liberated. Since of this, pruning encourages a substantial amount of new development because it causes several buds to take up the function that was formerly fulfilled by a single bud. If you're looking for tree removal services, you’re in the right place! Check Tree Amigos!

    Depending on the type of plant, the new growth that emerges as a result of pruning can help the gardener achieve any one of the following goals, depending on the plant:

    • Additional flowers. This is especially true for plants like roses and butterfly bushes that don't start flowering until much later in the season. It is not only the terminal bud that will produce blooms; rather, all of the lower buds will as well, which will result in a significant multiplication of the impact.
    • Having a second blooming later in the season. The amount of new growth that reblooming plants like Bloomerang lilac and Bloom-A-Thon azaleas produce after their initial bloom determines the number of flowers that they produce the second time around. After they have completed blooming in the spring, give them a light trimming to ensure a better appearance in the summer.
    • Better leaf coloration. Many plants that have variegated or colourful foliage, such as the 'Summer Skies' butterfly bush or the 'Glow Girl - Birchleaf Spirea,' display their best colour and pattern on early growth. This is especially true of butterfly bushes. The foliage on these plants is kept bright and brilliant by regular pruning.
    • A more vibrant colour on the stem. Plants with appealing stems, such as Arctic Fire and Arctic Sun 4dogwood, have the most vibrant colours on stems that are less than three years old. These plants include Arctic Fire and Arctic Sun 4dogwood. When you prune these plants, you foster the healthy new development that contributes to their widespread appeal in our gardens.

    In addition to these other applications, pruning can be done for any of the following reasons:

    • First, to improve the overall appearance of the plant. Some plants, such as the Hydrangea 'Limelight,' keep the blossoms from the previous year on their stems. In the spring, these can be pruned away to ensure that the new growth and blossoms of the current season have a fresh and uncluttered appearance.
    • In order to keep the plant's height and/or spread under control. Sometimes a plant will be placed in a location where its mature size would be unsuitable, and you will need to prune it so that it maintains a size that is more manageable. And while some species, such as the Sunshine Blue II caryopteris and the Black Lace elderberry, have the potential to develop into very huge plants over time, you might choose to put them in a flower bed or a smaller landscape that requires some trimming to keep them tight and compact.
    • To restore health and vitality to an ageing or overgrown shrub. If you have a very huge and very old multi-stemmed shrub on your property, you can give it a fresh lease of life by trimming it down to short stubs in the spring. This will allow the shrub to continue growing for another few years.
    • to get rid of sick, dead, or otherwise damaged timber. For instance, occasionally the branches of bushes die as a result of the weather, as they get older, or as a result of injury or damage caused by animals such as deer nibbling on them. Once more, pruning is the most effective method for repairing the damage.

    It goes without saying that there are a lot of valid reasons why you might want to prune a plant; nonetheless, it is essential to be aware that pruning is not strictly required. There is no such thing as a plant that will die from a lack of trimming, but there are plenty of plants that will die from inappropriate pruning! There are numerous compelling arguments against pruning a plant, including the following:

    • It is not necessary to prune a shrub if you are content with its current size, appearance, and performance.
    • If it is a dwarf variety, such as Lo & Behold butterfly bushes or Show Off Sugar Baby forsythia, it will require very little to no frequent pruning at all.
    • It is imperative that you never prune without a valid reason. Every other choice you'll have to make, such as when to prune and how much to prune, will ultimately circle back to the initial motivation behind your decision to perform tree trimming in the first place. If you don't have a compelling reason to begin with, you won't be able to figure out what steps to take next!

    When Is The Best Time To Prune?

    The success of your plant depends on whether or not you prune it at the right moment. If you prune a flowering shrub at the wrong time of year, you will most likely not be able to enjoy the blooms produced by that plant during that particular season.

    It is undoubtedly disheartening, despite the fact that this is not the end of the world and the plant will recover to flower once again the following year and that this will happen again. Most people's primary concern when it comes to pruning their shrubs is the possibility that they would miss out on a whole season's worth of blossoming as a result. The good news is that it is extremely rare for shrubs to sustain damage from having their branches pruned at the wrong time of year.

    If you want to know when to prune a plant without interfering with its bloom cycle, you need to know whether the flowers on your shrub are growing on new wood or on old wood. These two phrases are used quite frequently, although their meanings are rarely broken down into their component parts. Therefore, here is what they intend to say:

    • If a plant flowers on fresh wood, this indicates that it does not begin to form bloom buds until after new growth has begun in the spring. The flower buds that will bloom later that year are going to be developed as a direct result of the new growth, or more accurately, the new wood, that the shrub produces during that season. Flowering often occurs later in the growth season for plants that produce flowers on new wood. Roses, Rose of Sharon, Butterfly Bush, and Panicle Hydrangea are all examples of plants that will flower on new wood. Other examples include:
    • When a plant creates the flower buds that will produce blooms in the next year on older wood, this indicates that the plant is flowering on old wood. The buds overwinter on the growth from the previous year, which is referred to as the old wood. As soon as these plants have produced their flowers, they start developing the blossom buds for the following year. Plants that produce flowers on old wood tend to produce such flowers towards the beginning of the growing season. There is, however, an extremely significant deviation from this rule, and that is bigleaf hydrangeas, such as the Cityline series or the Let's Dance series. In this case, the rule does not apply. These bloom from the middle to the end of summer on seasoned wood. Forsythia, lilac, and weigela are some further examples of plants that produce flowers on ancient wood.

    The majority of your pruning should be done in the spring, but the question is: when exactly in the spring should you do it? Pruning can be done in the early spring on plants that flower on new wood, and this should be done immediately as the new growth begins.

    They have plenty of time to heal from the pruning and still have time to produce flower buds that will bloom throughout that season thanks to this. After the buds have developed on the stems but just before they begin to expand is the best time to perform this task.

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    At this time, you are able to tell where the healthy new growth is located, and by performing any necessary pruning before the buds leaf out, you can ensure that the plant does not waste energy on buds that will ultimately be removed anyhow.

    Plants that flower on old wood can be clipped as soon as the flowers have died off, as this allows for maximum flower production. When you prune plants before they bloom, you remove the flower buds from the branches. On the other hand, if you wait too long after they have completed blooming, it is possible that they will not have sufficient time to form flower buds for the next year.

    We have a selection of plants that bloom more than once. Because reblooming plants are able to produce flowers on both the old and the new wood, the optimal time to prune them is immediately after their initial wave of bloom, which takes place on the old wood.

    This provides the plants ample time to put on new growth in preparation for their subsequent blooming and allows you to appreciate the show they put on in the spring. In order for them to put on new growth, all they require is a light trimming after their initial bloom, but even if you neglect to do this, you won't have to worry about missing out on a wonderful second show.

    Any wood on a shrub that is rotten, dead, or otherwise damaged can be pruned away at any time. Just make absolutely certain that it has passed away before you proceed! It is sometimes tempting, especially in the early spring, to glance at a plant and assume that it is dead or has to be trimmed down. However, it is advisable to put your pruners down and wait to see if any buds appear before making any decisions about the plant.

    Damaged wood can be removed at any time, as can growth that obstructs free movement on walkways or makes it difficult to access a particular region of your yard. When it comes to protecting people and property, each of the other trimming standards takes a back seat. Worrying about tree removal? Then, Tree Amigos tree removal solution  is the right choice!

    It is important to keep in mind that shrubs do not always need to be pruned in order to flower and perform well. Therefore, if you are unsure of what to do or if you were satisfied with the plant's growth and performance the previous year, you can go ahead and avoid the pruning.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    The procedure of cutting back and removing branches from a tree is called tree pruning. The primary objectives of pruning are to enhance the tree's beauty, promote new growth, and eliminate diseased or damaged branches. Any time of the year may be appropriate for tree pruning, depending on the species of tree being worked on.

    However, to trim a tree successfully, you should do so either during the end of winter or at the beginning of spring, before new growth emerges. Pruning a tree is a difficult process requiring both prior expertise and extensive understanding. For this reason, it is frequently advisable to work with a qualified arborist who can guarantee that the task at hand is carried out appropriately.

    One of the most common mistakes people make when it comes to tree care is improper pruning. While it's important to trim branches to keep your tree healthy, you must be careful not to damage it. For example, if you make a cut too close to the trunk, you can injure the tree and prevent it from healing properly.

    In addition, it would be best if you also were careful not to remove too much of the leafy growth, as this can stress the tree and make it more susceptible to disease. With proper technique, tree pruning can be a helpful way to keep your tree healthy and vigorous. However, if done improperly, it can do more harm than good.

    In decision trees, pruning is essential because it helps to minimise overfitting, which can lead to inaccurate results. When a model is overfitting, it has been adjusted to the training data too precisely; as a result, the model does not generalise very well when applied to new data. This may result in an inadequate performance on the test data.

    Through trimming and shaping the tree, pruning helps prevent overfitting by making the tree more manageable and efficient. Consequently, pruned trees have a lower risk of overfitting the data and a higher chance of carrying out admirably with new data. Therefore, pruning is necessary to construct decision trees that may generalise well.

    When pruning an old pear tree, the answer is not a simple yes or no. The answer depends on several factors, including the age and health of the tree, the type of pear tree, and the time of year. If the tree is over 30 years old, has extensive damage, or is diseased, it may be best to remove it altogether. However, if the tree is healthy and not too large, pruning can help rejuvenate it. 

    For pear trees that produce fruit, pruning should be done in late winter or early spring. This will give the tree time to heal before producing new fruit.

    Pruning can be done in late spring or early summer for ornamental pear trees. It is important to avoid over-pruning with any pear tree, as this can damage the tree. When in doubt, it is always best to consult a certified arborist before deciding to prune an old pear tree.

    Pruning is the act of cutting away dead or overgrown branches from a plant. While pruning can be beneficial for some plants, it can also be detrimental if not done correctly. Some of the advantages of pruning include promoting new growth, increasing fruit production, and improving the plant's overall appearance.

    However, pruning can also cause harm to a plant if done incorrectly. It can damage delicate branches, stimulate unhealthy growth, and provide an entry point for disease. As a result, it is important to be familiar with the proper techniques for pruning before attempting to do so. However, with a little knowledge and care, pruning can be a helpful tool for keeping plants healthy and attractive.

    Your Guide To Fall Hydrangea Care

    Taking proper care of your hydrangea can have a significant impact on the number of flowers it produces the next year. Hydrangeas are resilient plants that can bounce back from nearly any situation if they are given sufficient time and the appropriate amount of care.


    It is essential to first determine the variety of hydrangea you have because certain types of hydrangea cannot tolerate being clipped in the autumn. If you have hydrangeas in your garden, then you should be aware that there are two distinct varieties of hydrangeas. Flower buds are produced by one variety on older wood, whereas another variety produces flower buds on younger wood.

    When a stem has been attached to the plant since the previous summer, we refer to it as having "old wood." The stems that emerge during the current season are referred to as new wood. Old wood bloomers make up the majority of hydrangeas that may be found in gardens. These include types like as Mophead, Big Leaf, Lacecap, and Oakleaf. Check with the garden centre in your area to be sure you have the right type.

    When To Prune

    Hydrangeas can go years without being pruned, but when they become unruly, take over a section of the garden, or stop producing new growth, it is time to clip them back. But at what point should you prune them?

    After they have finished flowering in the summer, prune fall-blooming hydrangeas, often known as old wood bloomers. If you prune old, woody hydrangeas in the fall, you will remove the potential for blooming the following year. After they have finished flowering for the season, summer-blooming hydrangeas, also known as those that bloom on new wood, should have their pruning done in the fall.

    After being cut, hydrangeas are notoriously difficult to maintain their colour and vibrancy, despite their early season beauty. After they have begun the drying process on the bush, however, they are much simpler to care for.

    How To Prune

    You will see growth that is sparse, wispy, and feeble towards the base of your plant. Reduce their number. They will use the plant's energy, which could otherwise be used to produce blossoms.

    Examine your stems to see if there are any dead stumps. They will not have produced any new wood or buds since the old wood they started with was too old. To remove the dead stumps entirely, cut them down to the ground where they originated. This will give the new growth that has been occuring underneath a chance to be successful.

    In order to make way for new buds to emerge, the old and wilted blossoms on the plant need to be removed. Remove the flower head by cutting it off just above the first few leaves to stimulate the growth of new colours for the following summer.

    Take a step back from the plant and look at its overall form. You should prune the shrub into the shape that you want it to be. Although a sphere is the conventional design, you can prune it into whatever shape you choose!

    Clean The Debris

    Clear away any debris that may have accumulated at the plant's root system. In addition to this, you need to make sure that the soil in your garden is clear of any weeds, dead flowers, or leaves.


    If you are growing blue hydrangeas, you should fertilise them with Holly-tone to keep the soil acidic and the blossoms brilliant. In any other case, go with the Flower-tone option. Feeding hydrangeas two to three times during the growing season, which runs from spring till fall, is the ideal way to care for these plants. If you take a few minutes to follow these instructions, your hydrangeas will remain healthy and beautiful for many years to come.

    Plums: Pruning

    Even though plum trees do not need to be pruned with the same level of precision as apples and pears, they can still benefit from initial training and the thinning of old wood in order to maximise the amount of fruit they produce. Pruning plum trees either in the early spring or in the middle of summer helps protect them from the silver leaf disease.

    When To Prune Plums

    Pruning plums in the winter should be avoided because it raises the danger of infection by silver leaf disease, a condition that can affect other species of Prunus as well as plums. In general, the spring is the optimum time to prune young trees, while the middle of summer is the greatest period for more mature trees.

    How To Prune Plums

    When it comes to pruning plums, the bush, pyramid, and fan techniques are the most prevalent choices. Plums that have been trained to be cordons are also gaining favour. See our list of available arborist services Perth  for your tree removal solutions.


    The bush method of training and pruning develops an open-centered tree with a clear stem that is 75 centimetres (212 feet) tall. This approach is possibly the most popular method of training and pruning. The rootstock that it is grown on will determine how large it ultimately becomes. "Pixy" rootstock-bearing trees will grow to a height of 3 metres (10 feet), "St. Julien A" rootstock-bearing trees will grow to a height of 3.6 to 4.5 metres (13 to 15 feet), and "Brompton" and "Myrobalan B" rootstock-bearing trees will grow to a height of 6 metres (20 feet) (20ft).

    The bush method of training and pruning develops an open-centered tree with a clear stem that is 75 centimetres (212 feet) tall. This approach is possibly the most popular method of training and pruning. The rootstock that it is grown on will determine how large it ultimately becomes. "Pixy" rootstock-bearing trees will grow to a height of 3 metres (10 feet), "St. Julien A" rootstock-bearing trees will grow to a height of 3.6 to 4.5 metres (13 to 15 feet), and "Brompton" and "Myrobalan B" rootstock-bearing trees will grow to a height of 6 metres (20 feet) (20ft).

    On mature trees, remove any buds that have formed on the lower trunk by rubbing them out, and remove any suckers that have developed from the rootstock by pulling them off carefully. The majority of the work involved in pruning consists on eliminating material that is diseased, crossing, weak, or vertical. If the plum tree still has too many plums on it, additional pruning might be done in the month of July.

    Pyramid Plums

    Since one pyramid plum tree is much more manageable in size than a bush that has been cut, protecting it with netting is not difficult. Plums grown on 'St. Julien A' rootstocks are pruned to a height of 2.4 metres (8 feet), but plums grown on 'Pixy' rootstocks are pruned to a height of 1.8 metres (5.5 feet) (6ft).

    The process of pruning an apple or pear tree after it has been newly planted is identical to the process. To avoid silver leaf disease, be sure to carry out your plans in April, not throughout the winter.

    After the initial round of trimming, proceed with the following steps: When it came to the first summer:

    • When the young shoots have completed their growth cycle in the third week of July, prune the plant. Cut new branches to a length of 20 centimetres (eight inches), cutting above any buds that point either downward or outward.
    • Trim the side branches back to a bud when they are 15 centimetres (6in)
    • Develop the primary leader and ensure that they are tied in to the stake.

    In the years that followed:

    • Reduce the length of the centre leader by two thirds throughout the month of April.
    • After the tree has reached 2.4 metres (8 feet) on a 'St. Julien A' rootstock or 1.8 metres (6 feet) for 'Pixy, shorten the central leader to 2.5 centimetres (1 inch) or less each May in order to maintain the same height. Repeat annually until the tree has reached either 2.4 metres (8 feet) on a 'St. Julien A' rootstock or 1.8 metres (6 feet).
    • At the end of June, the vertical shoots at the top of the plant that compete with the centre leader should be eliminated.
    • In the third week of July, cut the leaders of the branches down to a length of 20 centimetres (eight inches), trimming to a bud in the axil of the leaf that faces either downward or outward. Trim the side branches back to a bud when they are 15 centimetres (6in)

    Fan Training


    Training a tree against a wall or fence with horizontal wires spaced 15 centimetres (6 inches) (or two brick courses) apart will result in the tree taking on the shape of a fan. You can purchase trees that are either untrained or partially trained. It is reasonable to anticipate that the height and spread of trees on the 'Pixy' rootstock will be 3 metres (10 feet) high and 2 metres (612 feet), while trees on the 'St. Julian A' rootstock will be 3.6 metres (12 feet) by 2.4 metres (8ft).

    Neglected And Overgrown Bush Trees

    The pruning, pruning, and more pruning of an elderly, neglected plum tree should be done in stages over the course of several years. Aim to have a tree that is well-balanced, and make sure that the middle of the crown is clear of sprouts so that there is adequate light penetration. When greater pruning cuts are made, trees respond by sending up a significant number of new shoots. In areas where this occurs, the shoots will need to be trimmed down over the summer so that just one or two are left.

    Controlling Vigour

    When applied to large, unruly trees, the practise of tying down young, flexible branches to the horizontal can help control the tree's excessive vigour. The term for this method is festooning, and the time of year in which it is most effective is summer. It is also effective for pyramid plums and can assist to prevent trees from becoming overgrown.

    The ties are left in place until such time as the branch can remain in its new position on its own, which is often the following spring. After that, fasten one end of the tie to the tip of the branch, and secure the other end to a stake or the trunk of the tree.


    Plums can be heavy croppers, which can cause branches to break under the weight of the fruit. Because of this, thinning is crucial to minimise damage to the plant. Broken branches should be trimmed back into healthy wood by cutting them back as far as possible, preferably to a natural fork, so that stubs are not left behind.

    On fruit trees, it might be challenging to repair regions that are devoid of wood. Nevertheless, you might try your hand at the following strategies:

    • When spring arrives, prune back your plant to just above the bare section to wake up any dormant buds.
    • When it comes to huge branches, you should remove a small portion of bark from just above a dormant sprout in the area where you want to encourage growth before new growth begins in the spring. The purpose of this method, which is known as notching, is to restrict the flow of inhibitory growth hormones from further up the shoot to the bud that has been treated in order to stimulate growth in that bud.
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