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The Importance of Spring Pruning To Allow For Healthy Plant Growth

Updated: Mar 11

Spring is right around the corner and every responsible gardener should be getting ready. Soon, the plants will be blooming and gardens will be back to their former glory. There are many important steps a gardener has to go through, many different things they have to get ready.


But what about the gardeners who aren't ready? Someone hasn't done their research? Or, what about the gardeners who are raring to get out into their yards, those who are gung ho about getting started. Well, luckily, we are here to give some prime gardening tips to those aforementioned yard workers.


For those who need a place to get started this spring– perhaps they should consider starting their year of gardening with pruning.


What is pruning?


Simply put, pruning is removing branches from a plant. This can be done for aesthetic purposes, but most of the time it's for the health of the plant. However, there is some tact that goes into pruning, one cannot just start snipping off branches left, right, and center. There are five Ds to remember when one is pruning, each instructing the average gardener on what to look out for when pruning–


Dead

Dying

Damaged

Disfigured

Diseased


Removing any branches that fit under those categories is not only going to make the plant look a lot better in a yard, but it's also going to be beneficial for the plant in the long run. What are those benefits?


A Healthier Plant


Gardners are usually pretty concerned with one thing above all– the health of their plants. And pruning is one of the many tools that can help promote healthiness in plants. The basis of pruning involves removing the dead, dying branches from the plant, which will allow the plant to grow new, healthier bits. Not only will this make a plant look better, grow better and feel better, but it will also deter pests from infesting the plant.


A Better Looking Yard


Getting back to the "looking better" portion of the previous paragraph, pruning will help a gardener's yard look better. It's not just that pruning will allow plants to grow healthier, a good pruning session will allow anyone to control the size of their plant, allowing for more choices when deciding the aesthetics of one's garden. Also, keep in mind that pruning will allow for fruit and flower growth on trees and shrubs.


Protection


Finally, if a nicer yard and healthier plants weren't enough, regular pruning can help in protecting a gardener's stuff. Is there a tree looming over a house? Some prickly bushes that keep on scratching pets or clumsy children? Pruning can make sure that those dead branches never break off and fall on a house, that those prickly bushes never grow too wild. Also, for those out there who don't like to have pests running around their property, pruning will allow for fewer places for those animals to make their nests.






How is one supposed to prune? For all the pruning newcomers out there, here is a pretty comprehensive guide. Keep in mind, these are mostly in relation to trees and should be left to professionals.


There are a couple of different types of pruning – thinning, topping, raising, and reduction, each with its own specific function.


Topping: During the topping process, one is going to remove most of the branches on a tree down to the trunk. This process is often used to help a young tree grow a certain way.


Thinning: This is in relation to one specific cut, and will be when one cuts the branch right down to the trunk.


Raising: If low-hanging branches are a gardener's issue, then they should look into raising. This is often when low-hanging branches are cut away in order to keep a certain area safe from falling debris.


Reduction: When one is reducing a tree, they are scaling back it's volume. This is once again for safety reasons, like when a tree is under a power line.


What is one going to need to prune? There are only a couple of tools that a gardener should have in order to complete the pruning process, however, they differ based on specific yard worker need and/or taste.


1. Hand Pruners. This is the most basic of pruning tools and can be found pretty much anywhere gardening tools are sold. They are mostly used for branches, twigs, and stems that are up to 3/4" in diameter. They are good in some cases, although they tend to wear a gardener's hands after long, repeated use.


2. Loppers. These are very similar to hand pruners, with one pretty major exception– they have long handles. These are for the branches that are hidden deep within the recesses of tangled bushes, or for those branches that are just out of reach. They cut limbs up to 1-1/2" in diameter, but that of course would depend on the make of the loppers.


3. Pruning saws. These are saws that are specially designed for, well, pruning. More specifically, they have blades that can cut through fresh, sappy wood easily. Handheld saws are great for working on the ground, however, if there are branches that are out of reach a gardener can invest in a pole-mounted saw.


4. Hedge shears. These are long, scissor-like apparatuses used for hedges. They tend to cut branches up to 1/2" in diameter.


And so, the article about pruning comes to an end. However, there was so much we learned about the process. We learned about the benefits of a spring prune, and of pruning in general. We learned about all the different types of pruning, and the occasional instances when they should be used. Then, we learned about the different tools used in the pruning process and all the different uses for each of them. All there is left to do is get started! To take these gardening tips off of the internet and into the yard.


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