The topic of when to prune trees and shrubs is one that many individuals are forced to consider on an annual basis. Before deciding on any big work to be done, it is important to seek the advice of a professional, as a matter of course. If, on the other hand, you are confused as to the species of tree or shrub that you have on your property, then take a look at this useful advice that will simplify the procedure for you!
We get a lot of inquiries about the best time of year to prune shrubs and trees each and every year. Before making that decision on the timing, it is essential to have a good understanding of the species of tree or shrub that you have. If you reside in the south, for instance, you still have time to prune the lilac bush in your yard! The optimal period for the majority of people is immediately after the flowers have completed blooming and not later than the beginning of fall.
How do you tell when it's time to prune the trees and shrubs in your yard? Is there a particular time of year when I ought to get started on this procedure? These are questions that are frequently posed to us by homeowners. The correct response is "yes and no" Before determining the appropriate time to trim a tree or shrub, it is essential to have a good understanding of the species.
Due to the fact that they do not need to enter dormancy during the winter, certain plants, such as roses, can have their branches cut at any time of the year. On the other hand, in order for some plants to produce fruit, such as fruit trees, colder weather is required.
This article will assist in providing insight into how to trim your plants in order to get the most out of them throughout the course of their lifetime. If you want the best possible outcome, follow these rules!
What To Prune And When
When these three fundamental ideas are understood, pruning becomes a straightforward process. When it comes to pruning trees or shrubs, certain general criteria should be followed. Now, in order to prune properly, here are three essential pointers.
Pick the Appropriate Instrument.
Always utilise instruments that are clean and sharp. Choose the appropriate-sized instrument for the branch that has to be pruned in order to protect both the plant and the tool from being harmed. When trimming branches with a diameter of more than 4–6 centimetres, you should use a pruning saw. The pruners are most effective when used on the tiniest of the branches. For branches with a diameter of 1 inch or so or less, use loppers. See our list of available arborist services Perth for your tree removal solutions.
Choose The Right Time
There is not a single instance in which pruning would be most beneficial. Many deciduous trees and shrubs are best pruned in the late winter since they are dormant during this time of year and it is easier to identify what needs to be pruned. Additionally, performing late-winter pruning encourages rapid regrowth come springtime.
When pruned in the late winter, certain trees, like maples, birches, and magnolias, release a significant amount of sap. This does not cause a significant amount of damage, but it can be prevented by performing tree pruning in the late spring or early summer after the trees have fully leafed out. The optimum time to prune away dead branches is in the summer, when they are more visible.
After they have finished flowering in the spring, spring-flowering trees and shrubs should be pruned immediately. The optimal time to prune trees and shrubs that blossom during the summer and into fall is either later in the winter or early in the spring, just as soon as their yearly growth begins.
Pruning in the fall should be avoided since it encourages new growth that may be destroyed by the harsh winter weather. Instead, perform regular pruning on the following: suckers, water sprouts, and branches that are sick, injured, or dead.
Make The Right Cuts
Make a clean cut without breaking the bark by holding the thinner uppercutting blade closer to the trunk or main stem. This will allow you to make a cleaner cut. Avoid leaving a stub because it looks bad and is a potential entry point for unwanted organisms such as pests and illnesses. Instead, make your incision slightly outside the branch collar, which is the swelling that can be found at the beginning of the branch.
Take precautions to avoid injury when you prune:
- Put on appropriate clothing before beginning the pruning process. This includes long pants, a shirt with long sleeves, gloves, safety glasses, and shoes with non-slip soles.
- You can protect yourself from the sun by wearing a hat with a wide brim, but you should check that it doesn't get in the way of your eyesight.
- Always make sure the tools are clean and sharp. If at all possible, place a protective cover over an instrument that has a sharp edge.
- When transporting pruning tools, make sure the pointed ends are facing downward.
- When you prune, pick a day that is calm and clear with little wind.
- If you have no choice but to prune from a ladder, make sure the ladder is well secured to the tree. Maintain two points of contact at all times: one with the ladder and one with the pruning saw. Additionally, make every effort to make arrangements for someone to help secure the ladder even further off the ground.
Tools For pruning
A pair of secateurs of high quality should be considered the most essential instrument for pruning. These ought to be the best that you can get for the money. Putting some tape made of brightly coloured plastic around the handle is a handy trick that you might try. Even if they are partially covered in mulch and left on the edge of a garden bed, the secateurs will be easily identifiable thanks to this feature. Always make sure the blades are sharp and the joints are lubricated. Perform routine maintenance on your tool to extend its useful life.
A quality saw is another tool that is required. Choose the one that has the narrowest blade possible so that it may be manoeuvred into more congested areas of the plant.
Hedge clippers are an absolute requirement for properly maintaining formal hedges. If you think that this will need too much effort, you should consider purchasing shears that are powered by electricity or batteries. Also, make sure you have a sturdy pair of gloves on hand, particularly for cutting roses.
How Do Roots Do Their Work?
Some plants have a single, powerful taproot that is surrounded by a network of smaller, branching lateral roots. Others have a root system that is branching and fibrous.
Through the root hairs, which are elongated cells just behind the root tip, the root system draws water and dissolved nutrients from the soil. It then transfers these substances to conducting tissue in the root, which then sends them to the stem and other parts of the plant. The root system can take many different forms.
Because roots must respire (or breathe) in order to execute their role of properly absorbing and conducting, a soil must also be able to deliver oxygen in addition to water and nutrients for a plant to grow in it.
The following are some of the most prevalent justifications for pruning:
- In order to maintain the plant's natural form.
- In order to keep the plant from getting too big (much better, though, to choose a plant that will grow to fit the space rather than being forced to prune constantly).
- To foster the development of productive growth (e.g. flowering shoots on roses and fruiting wood in the orchard).
- To get rid of the dead wood
- To eliminate obsolete canes from the foundation (as in plants like May bushes and abelia).
- To create space within a canopy for air to travel freely between the branches.
- To train plants into unique shapes using techniques like as topiary, standardisation, or espaliering.
- In order to stimulate the development of vibrant new growth (e.g. new red leaves on photinia).
- To keep a fence or screen in good condition.
- To "halt" the upward growth of plants and to promote branching out instead.
- to lessen competition by reducing crowded growth by thinning.
- When grafted plants need to have suckers removed from the rootstocks.
And of course, there are further reasons:
- When compared to other times of the year, the beginning of fall sees slower healing of wounds caused by pruning, which puts plants at a greater risk of developing fungal illnesses. Due to the fact that wounds heal more quickly during the late winter and early spring, this is the optimal period to perform extensive pruning on most trees.
- When performed in late summer and early fall, pruning can also stimulate new growth, but this growth will have little time to mature before the onset of winter weather. This fragile young growth can be harmed by the cold, and the tree may require additional trimming in the spring in order to eliminate the damage.
- If you wish to prune in the fall, you should wait until the trees have shed their leaves and gone into hibernation, which often occurs in October or November. After the leaves have fallen, it is much easier to view the structure of the tree and to diagnose problems caused by insects and diseases. Evergreens are best pruned during their dormant period, particularly from late winter to early spring, because the robust spring growth that follows will disguise any wounds caused by the trimming.
- Late fall, specifically the months of October and November, is an ideal time to perform root trimming if you intend to transplant a young tree the following spring. This method of pruning encourages the formation of new roots at the cuts, which is beneficial for a tree that has recently been transplanted and is trying to become established in its new site.
- You should make an exception to the rule that states you should not prune in the fall by removing any dead, diseased, or damaged wood as soon as possible. This is both for the health of the tree and for your own protection. Always act in a manner consistent with the highest standards of safety. Employ a qualified arborist to cut down large branches, remove high branches, and handle any other aspect of tree maintenance that is above your capabilities.
Proper Time To Prune Trees And Shrubs
Understanding when to prune plants is a critical component of successful pruning. The right timing is essential for ensuring that plants will be beautiful, healthy, and fruitful. The following table indicates the times of year when it is best to prune trees and shrubs in the yard and garden.
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The plant's growth habit, when it blooms, and its overall health or condition all play a role in determining the optimal time to prune deciduous shrubs.
Shrubs that bloom in the spring, such as lilac and forsythia, do so on the growth that occurred over the previous season. When spring-flowering shrubs should have their branches pruned depends on the plant's overall health and condition.
Spring-flowering shrubs that have been neglected and allowed to become overgrown typically require significant trimming in order to be revitalised or renewed. Late winter or early spring is the time of year that is ideal for reviving huge bushes that have become overgrown (March or early April).
When heavy pruning is done in the late winter or early spring, it will significantly reduce or even eliminate the flower display for the next two or three years. However, after that, rejuvenation pruning will return the shrubs to their previous state of good health.
Immediately following the completion of flowering is the ideal time to perform any necessary pruning on a healthy and well-maintained spring-flowering shrub. (Pruning should only be necessary on a mild to moderate level for shrubs that are well-maintained and in good health.)
Gardeners are able to appreciate the spring flower display and are provided with sufficient time for the shrubs to develop new bloom buds in preparation for the following year when the bushes are pruned shortly after they have flowered.
Shrubs that bloom in the summer, such as potentilla and Japanese spirea, produce their flowers on the growth of the previous year. Late winter or early spring is the best time to prune summer-flowering bushes. The newly clipped bushes will produce flowers on the growth of the current season in the summer.
There are certain deciduous bushes that do not produce flowers that are particularly appealing. However, the bark, fruit, or foliage of some shrubs could have a colourful appearance. You should prune these shrubs either in the late winter or the early spring, before they start growing again.
In the late summer, you should not prune deciduous shrubs. If you prune shrubs in August or early September, it may stimulate a second growth spurt later in the season. This new growth might not become sufficiently brittle before the onset of cold weather, leaving it vulnerable to damage throughout the winter months.
Evergreen plants, such as juniper and yew, should have their annual pruning done in late March or early April, before the start of the new growth season. In the middle of summer, you might also conduct some light pruning. When fall comes around, you shouldn't prune evergreen shrubs. Evergreens that are pruned in the fall are more prone to suffering damage over the winter.
The months of February and March are typically considered to be the ideal time to do tree pruning on deciduous trees. Because there is no foliage present at this time of year, the individual has a good view of the tree, which enables them to choose the branches that need to be removed and do so effectively.
In addition, the process by which wounds are walled off or compartmentalised happens most quickly right before the beginning of growth in the spring. One notable exception are oak trees. Oak trees should ideally be pruned during the colder months of the year, specifically December, January, and February.
It is possible to prune deciduous trees at different seasons of the year with little to no negative impact on the health of the tree. However, if it is at all feasible, you should try to avoid pruning deciduous trees in the spring, when the trees are in the process of leafing out, and in the fall, when the trees are in the process of shedding their leaves.
During the months of March through October, you should refrain from pruning oaks to limit the likelihood of spreading oak wilt. The fungal disease known as oak wilt is responsible for the death of many oak trees.
Beetles that feed on sap have the potential to transmit it from sick trees to healthy plants ("picnic bugs"). In the event that an oak tree needs to be pruned during the spring or summer months (for example, after a storm), apply latex house paint to the pruning cuts. This will prevent sap-feeding beetles from congregating around the wounds.
It is preferable to prune fruit trees between the middle of February and the beginning of April. On the other hand, the pruning should be finished before the fruit trees start to break bud (also known as leaf out) in the early spring.
Evergreen trees, like pine, spruce, and fir, are the ones that need the least amount of pruning. At any time of the year, diseased, damaged, or otherwise unhealthy branches can be pruned away. On the other hand, late winter is the ideal time to prune away lower branches of evergreen trees that aren't wanted.
Both spruce and fir trees have side buds or lateral buds on their most recent growth, which is the outermost layer. In the early spring, prune shoots back so that they are just above a lateral bud or side branch. This will encourage denser development.
The terminal buds of pine trees are where new growth originates. Pines do not develop side or lateral buds. Pinus canadensis can have its development reduced by pinching off one-half to two-thirds of the elongated terminal buds, sometimes known as "candles," in the spring, when the candles are roughly 2 to 3 inches in length. It is not necessary to cut branches back to older growth further down the stem because new growth will not occur from these regions.
The Wrong Time To Trim Trees
Attempting to prune trees during the summer is a bad idea. When it comes to removing healthy limbs from a tree, now through the beginning of winter is the absolute worst time to do it. This is especially true for a tree as lovely as a river birch.
When done properly, pruning during the active growing season will invariably induce new growth. The need for a tree to produce an untimely fresh flush of growth during the heat of summer places a significant amount of strain on the plant. The worst time to prune a tree is in the fall since this stops the tree from entering its natural state of dormancy.
The only exception is wood that is severely decayed, diseased, or dead. Those beaten-up branches can be removed at any time—and should be removed—from the tree. But the removal of healthy limbs should only be done in the middle of winter, which is the dormant period when the tree is essentially asleep, or in the spring when the tree has just begun actively growing again and new growth is forming naturally. Neither of these times is the best time to prune a tree.
If you try to cut a branch that weighs 100 pounds in one piece, it will swing around, hit you in the head, and snap your shoelaces if you are not careful. Additionally, it will rip the bark immediately below that piece of the branch all the way down to the ground. Because of this, huge branches should always be cut away in pieces that are manageable, typically about a foot at a time.
Find the branch collar when you are ready to make the final cut closest to the tree. The branch collar is the circular structure that is formed where the branch joins the tree. When you have finished removing the last limb from the tree, you should be sure to keep that collar in place. Avoid making cuts that are flush with the trunk.
There should not be anything utilised to close the incisions. The natural world has a far superior understanding of how to accomplish that than we have.
Mushrooms On Wood Mulch
You were aware that utilising wood mulch was not a good idea, yet you continued to use it nonetheless, and now you're astonished when something horrible ultimately happened because of it?
The truth is that anyone who buys into the marketing for wood mulch will, at some point, be inundated with mushrooms and/or other pesky moulds, some of which are capable of causing major cosmetic damage to homes and vehicles, which can be quite expensive to repair.
While some people experience issues the very first year that they spread wood mulch, others are able to avoid them for ten years or more after beginning this practise. However, the chickens, or more accurately, the fungal spores, will come home to roost sooner or later.
For the time being, you can try to prevent the mushroom spawning by putting coffee grounds, lime, or wood ash around the area where the mushrooms are growing. But you shouldn't pull them out. This causes the spores to spread farther.
The use of coffee grounds provides nitrogen, while the addition of lime and wood ash increases the alkalinity of the mulch, both of which assist prevent the growth of fungi. But you can't use them both; you have to pick between wood ash or ground coffee.
And of course, the solution that will work best in the long run is to switch to a mulch that isn't appealing to the rogue fungus in the long run, such as compost, pine straw, or pine fines.
Wood Mulch = Worms (But Not The Good Kind)
These ingenious caterpillars (any pest with the term "worm" in its common name is actually a caterpillar of some type) make their homes in tiny nests, often known as "bags," that are extremely similar in appearance to the pine cones that grow naturally on the plants that are being devoured by them. Because of this, the "worms" frequently avoid being discovered, sometimes even as they are consuming the evergreen all the way down to the ground.
When a plant is subjected to stress, such as when it is fed with chemical fertilisers or when it is mulched with chipped-up pallets from China that have been sprayed with some godawful colour, bagworms and other pests of a similar nature, such as tent caterpillars and fall webworms, frequently make an appearance.
The application of Bt spray to the plant is the first step in solving any caterpillar problem. This organic insecticide, which is manufactured from a naturally occuring soil bacteria, is marketed under brand names such as Dipel, Thuracide, and Green Step. It is effective against caterpillars only if they consume the sections of the plant that have been sprayed. Nothing else is harmed by bt. The so-called "worms" will immediately stop eating and will perish not long after that. This article will help you make a decision about tree stumping and removal. Here at Tree Amigo, we’re passionate about trees!
On the long run, you should refrain from feeding your plants fertilisers that contain chemicals and cease using mulches that cause your plants stress. Make the transition to compost or pine straw in its place. These kinds of assaults are quite rare on a plant that is robust and content.
Frequently Asked Questions
Pruning a tree may seem daunting, but with a little know-how, it can be easily accomplished. The first step is to identify the purpose of the pruning. Are you trying to remove dead or diseased branches? Are you shaping the tree to allow more light to reach the ground? Or are you trying to encourage new growth? Once you have determined the purpose of the pruning, you can begin to select which branches to remove. It is important to make clean cuts at a 45-degree angle, just above a bud or lateral branch. When in doubt, it is always best to err on caution and refrain from removing too much. Your tree will soon look its best with proper care and attention.
Shrubs come in a wide range of sizes, from low-growing groundcovers to taller varieties that can reach up to 20 feet. The exact size of a particular shrub will depend on the species and the growing conditions. For example, a plant grown in full sun will typically be smaller than one grown in partial shade.
In general, however, most shrubs fall into one of three categories: low (less than 3 feet), medium (3-6 feet), or tall (more than 6 feet). When selecting a shrub for your garden, choose one that will fit the available space. With so many different heights to choose from, it’s easy to find a shrub that will suit your needs.
Shrubs are woody plants that are typically smaller than trees. They can provide various benefits, including privacy, shade, and wind protection. In addition, shrubs can add colour and texture to your landscape. When choosing shrubs for your yard, it is important to consider the plant's mature size, growth habit, and sun and water requirements.
Once you have selected the right shrubs for your needs, you must prepare the planting site by removing any existing grass or weeds. After that, you can dig a hole twice as wide as the root ball and just as deep. Once the shrub is in place, give it plenty of water so the roots can establish themselves. With a little care, your shrubs will thrive for years to come.
We should encourage tree growth and provide proper maintenance for numerous reasons. They contribute to cleaning the air, stabilising the soil, and providing shade and shelter.
They not only offer food and a place to live for wildlife but may also be utilised to make paper, fuel, and lumber products. In addition, trees can improve the look of a landscape and have value in terms of their appearance and meanings.
Planting new trees and caring for existing ones are necessary to keep these benefits. The correct methods for planting trees ensure that the trees will be successful in their new environment, and the correct methods for caring for trees help keep the trees healthy and free from diseases and pests. If we give our trees the attention and care they need, we can ensure that they will continue to bestow upon us the numerous advantages we rely on.
To prune plants means to trim them back to promote new growth. This can be done for both aesthetic and functional purposes. For example, you may prune a shrub to shape it into a particular design or prune a tree to remove dead branches.
Pruning is usually done with shears or a saw, and it is important to make clean cuts to avoid damaging the plant. In general, you should only prune away about one-third of the plant material at a time, as this will minimise stress on the plant and encourage new growth. In addition, proper pruning can help your plants stay healthy and look their best.