Plant Pruning: How to Prune for Awesome Blooms
Pruning is certainly an art since each plant species has its own pruning method and timing. Still most plants should be pruned annually, so you definitely need to know what to do and when since pruning is vital to the plant’s health.
Why prune? It helps maintain the plant’s size and shape and can help with overall growth of the plant. For fruit trees, it can result in better fruits and blossoms.
WHEN TO PRUNE
Trees and shrubs
The type of plant determines when to prune.
- Deciduous trees may be best to trim in early spring when they don’t have leaves. The branches are easier to see.
- Fruit trees should be trimmed in the first couple of months of the year when they are dormant.
- Shrubs should be pruned from the start. When you are planting the shrub, be sure to trim off any dead branches. This will allow for better plant growth, resulting in a stronger shrubbery plant.
Flowering trees, flowering shrubs, and heirloom roses that bloom in early spring generally should be pruned after they have finished blooming. However, those that bloom in the summer or fall should be pruned in their dormant season.
Other roses should be pruned right before new growth emerges. This depends on the climate zone, but is often in early spring. Check with your local greenhouse or garden center for the best pruning time for your area.
Remove any branches that appear to be “dead” or any really thin or really short branches in late winter or early spring. Removal of any dead or diseased stems should be done throughout the growing season, however. Trimming any diseased parts should be done when planting cuttings in the spring.
For tomato plants, remove suckers and side shoots, along the stem, when they appear to be too numerous. Suckers will often appear in abundance in mid-summer, especially during the heat of the summer.
WHAT TO PRUNE
Trees and shrubs
While pruning can be used to manage tree or bush size, it can also help with the growth of the tree and produce better fruit. Some trees, such as apple and cherry trees, should be minimally pruned. On the other hand, nectarine and peach trees require much more pruning.
Shrubs are pruned for several reasons.
- Promote new growth.
- Promote flowering.
- Improve appearance or to create a sculpted appearance.
- Limit obstructions to vision, roadways, driveways and sidewalks.
Some more pruning tips:
- If unsure how much to prune, check with your local nursery or garden center – since they are likely familiar with the local climate and how plants perform in it.
- Remember that it is always best to prune branches when they are still relatively small. Doing so is best for you and the plant – it’s physically easier for you and faster for the plant to close the wound.
- When removing a branch or limb, correctly prune by cutting at the node (where one branch connects to another branch.)
- Prune any dead branches as well as limbs that are infested by insects or disease.
- Prune any branches that rub against or lean against each other (removal of one of the branches is sufficient).
- Broken limbs should be pruned back to the limb’s origination
- Root suckers at the rootstock should be pruned as well.
- Never prune a tree partway through a branch between nodes. This can result in dead and decaying branches and the introduction of fungi to the open cut.
- When pruning shrubbery, be careful not to cut the lead branch. Prune branches near the bottom and ones that cross.
Roses are pruned to eliminate dead or diseased stems, allow more penetration of air and sunshine, and enhance the overall shape and look of the roses.
- Eliminate dead or diseased stems as well as very thin branches. If the stem is dead or diseased it will appear dark brown and withered. This should be done at the start of your pruning process.
- Be sure to cut off all of the dead area of the stem or branch by cutting until you see the white interior inside the stem; this cut should be at 45° angle and 1/4 inch above an outward facing stem.
- For trimming non-diseased branches, choose a bud that is outward facing and then make the cut about 1/4 inch above it. The cut should be made at an angle of about 45°. It is a good idea to seal the cut stem with white glue or other similar sealant so insects cannot get inside the stem.
Pruning of berry bushes will help to encourage better, stronger and fuller growth as well as more berries. It will also help control the spread of diseases through your berry plants.
- Remove any branches that are grayish and appear to be dead.
- Remove thin branches and short branches.
- Make sure to use clean tools to avoid spreading infections.
- “Top off” the canes that are higher than the height you want them to reach. This will allow for stronger stems and branches, which will be better able to support fruit and flowers.
Pruning of tomatoes will help encourage better, stronger and fuller growth as well as larger tomatoes.
Remove “suckers” which are branches that emerge between the main stems of the plant. Suckers will often appear in abundance in mid-summer, especially during the heat of the summer. You can snap the suckers off with your fingers or if you are using a tool to prune them, you will need to sterilize the tool.
You want to have only the main stem and one other major stem on each tomato plant. If suckers are not removed, the plant will grow rampantly and will not have as large of tomatoes as those plants which are pruned.
A word of caution: Make sure you do not prune too many leaves, since a lack of leaves can lead to the tomatoes getting “sunburnt.”
Battle Insects with Safer® Brand
As you tend to your shrubs, trees and roses, look to Safer® Brand to help keep your plants in great shape with our line of OMRI Listed® products.
- Help for Your Roses – Use our Rose & Flower Insect Killer to target the aphids, beetles, caterpillars and crickets that target your plants.
- Help for Your Berries – Fight the beetles destroying your berry plants with our Japanese Beetle Traps.
- Help for Your Fruit Trees – Are stink bugs hitting your fruit trees? Blast them with End ALL® Insect Killer. Infused with Neem Oil, this ready-to-use spray is compliant for use with organic gardening.
- Help for Your Tomato Plants – With the Tomato & Vegetable Insect Killer, you can help protect your plants from the bugs that love tomatoes as much as you do.
Reach Pruning Perfection
Do you have any other questions on pruning your plants? Ask us the next time you visit Safer® Brand on Facebook. You can also contact our customer care team with your questions about Safer® Products by calling us at (855) 7-ORGANIC or by visiting our customer service center online. You can get more advice by subscribing to the Safer® Brand E-Newsletter.