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Lawn & Garden

Principles of pruning plants, shrubs and trees


Why and when do we prune plants?

Pruning serves different purposes with different types of plants. Pruning fruit trees is done in the fall or winter, when trees are dormant, to reinvigorate the tree come springtime. Pruning also channels energy to the plant by opening up sunlight to a tree to produce larger, healthier yields.


Sucker pruning of tomato plants serves similar purposes as pruning fruit trees but tomatoes are notorious for flushing out so many leaves that it can often shade itself, which in turn creates poor air circulation, leading to disease like powdery mildew. Pruning suckers off tomato plants simply means removing branches that will not produce fruit and only rob plants of nutrients that could be better used on fruit production.


Pruning Crape Myrtles is done to increase bloom production and often to keep this tree at a reasonable size. Heavy or light pruning can be done on February 1st before the plant starts breaking bud in the spring.


For some plants, timing is everything when it comes to pruning. Many plants set bud for next years flowers, right after blooming. Pruning azaleas within 1 month after blooming is certainly recommended, as this is the best way to manage the size of your plants and pruning them on time will create more flowers the following year. Many other plants also bloom on old growth from the previous year. Some of these plants include camellias, forsythia, hydrangeas, indian hawthorn and osmanthus.


Roses are deciduous shrubs that often times are prone to damage in the cold season, which can make the plant prone to disease and disfigurement. Pruning roses gives us the opportunity to clean up the plant and remove dead canes, to keep the plant healthy. Pruning also stimulates growth, making the plant grow fuller and bloom with more tenacity. Pruning methodically will also train the plant to grow as we want it to grow.


It is so common to mess up when it comes to pruning hydrangeas, as this deciduous plant that blooms on old wood from the year before is very tempting to prune in the fall or winter because it can become an eyesore to some, looking like a bunch of dead sticks.


Whereas all plants have ideal pruning times, the basic rules for southern climates are that February is one of the more ideal times to prune many plants, right before the spring flush of new growth for some plants and also a benefit for deciduous plants to lessen shock. March is more ideal in the North. September and October is the worst time to prune plants here in Georgia, as this will promote new growth at an inopportune time, that will result in being burnt by an early fall frost. As you see with azaleas and hydrangeas, mid spring and summer are more ideal times for pruning.

Whereever you live, it is recommended that you do not prune or trim plants within 6 to 8 weeks of your first fall frost date.


Click on the orange links above if you see the plant that you need to prune. If you need information on pruning other plants, simply locate it in our plant library. If more information is needed, simply like the page and write in to us.

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Posted 2018-01-11T18:37:40+0000  by Ingar_HD_ATL Ingar_HD_ATL