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More info on Pruning

Have you noticed a bunch of water sprouts, suckers, and undesirable growth all over your trees and shrubs? Well, that’s because you may have pruned your plants during the dormant season.

Here is some insight on pruning. As plants grow during the season they make food and then grow. Toward the end of the season, when the leaves start to drop and plants slow down, plants begin to store up energy in their roots. So, if you prune before the plant starts to actively grow, when deciduous trees and shrubs are still leafless, you will get water sprouts. Timing your pruning will reduce water spout growth.

I like to do all my pruning in the summer just after the spring growth flush and before fall. In some cases, I prune just after the plant blooms. I prefer to stop all pruning by the end of August or in early September. Another rule of thumb is never prune more than a third of the tree at one time. Understand when plants get done blooming and how the plant grows naturally when making your cuts.

Please never top your plants.

Always have sharp and sterile tools. In my earlier blogs I went over the right cuts. It is possible to fix your past mistakes, and I can tell you from personal experience. That’s how you learn, right?

To work forward, visualize the plant to be pruned growing in a nice natural form. Some of those water sprouts can actually revert back into productive branches again. To do that, make thinning cuts and at the cluster, prune out the worst of the bunch. That one you keep, make sure it fits in your overall plan because the tree will take a few years to start getting it back in shape. Some of my clients came to me with badly pruned plants and now we’re turning them back into beautiful plants again!

If you hire someone to do pruning for you, make sure they are trained in pruning. Always find out if they are licensed and insured. It is way better to do it right the first time than have to waste time fixing the problem later. It will save you money and your plants. Plus you can enjoy your garden!

 

More info on pruning: I highly recommend Cass Turnbull’s Guide to pruning. Check out Plant Amnesty! Also, the

Master Gardeners have publications for sale at their office. Give them a call and they can steer you in the right direction.  You too can become a master pruner!

 

Gardener Joe’s lawn tip for the week is start mowing a little higher. Have you fertilized?  Use a nice organic lawn food to feed your soil biology.

Thanks and happy gardening,

Gardener Joe

Joe Machcinski is owner of Pangea Garden-scapes, a natural and organic yard care business  that offers design, education, consulting and care. He is active in Washington  Association  of  Landscape Professionals. He can be reached at (360) 990-3035 or besthands@aol.com.

 

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