Pruning shrubs doesn't have to be the scary proposition that many beginning gardeners think that it is. Pruning is a vital step in promoting the health and welfare of your plants, while also creating that perfect landscape design that you have in mind. If you have never pruned a shrub, tree, or plant in your life you need to understand a few basic principles before you go out and begin pruning. Without understanding the basic principles behind pruning, you can find yourself creating more of a problem than you intended.
- Reason to prune. Before you begin pruning, you need to have some reason in mind. Are you planning on pruning to increase the aesthetic look of the shrub? Maybe you are planning on controlling some of the growth? Are you trying to train the plant to grow in a specific manner, as with a small bonsai tree? Remember that you will be cutting a live plant, and whenever you cut the plant, you are making a permanent change that can have unintended consequences.
- Know your plant. In order to avoid unintended consequences when pruning shrubs, be sure that you know your plants. Believe it or not, some shrubs should only be pruned during certain parts of the year, such as the rose bush. However, most shrubs should be pruned in the spring time, as well as the fall. This will promote growth wile also preparing the plant for the changes in the weather that will be coming soon.
- Scope of the pruning. Don't begin with a major pruning operation. Instead start small and work your way up. Walk around your shrubs, and prune only a few small items at a time and then wait a few days. This will allow you time to see whether the changes you made will harm the shrub or not, and will allow you to see if you need to go any further.
- Necessary pruning. Pruning is also a great way to prevent any spread of diseased or rotting parts of the plant. If you come across a branch, or part of the shrub that looks diseased, dead, or rotting then remove it. This will help ensure that your shrub grows as healthy as possible.
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