Some plants, vegetative and flowering, will grow weary over the course of several years, or even just a summer. Any bush, tree or plant is at risk for growing limp and lifeless--with brown spots, overcrowded limbs and small blossoms. To rejuvenate your plants and give them the lush green and large blooms they deserve, simple pruning is in order.
Things You'll Need
- Tree saw
- Hedge trimmers
- Pruning shears
- Garden gloves
Determine where the prominent branches of your plant, tree or bush lie. These are the largest limbs that originate at the base or trunk of the plant. You will thin out the smaller branches that are positioned as a "Y" off the prominent branches.
Cut along the prominent branches at the Y of the smaller limbs. Cut at the base of the smaller limb, where it joins to a larger branch. Make a straight and clean cut at a 45-degree angle. For trees with branches larger than 1 inch, use the tree saw; for anything 1/2- to 1-inch thick use the hedge trimmers. For smaller plants and bushes with limbs less than 1/2 inch, the pruning shears work fine.
Cut from the outer edges first and then deeper into the bush. Go from one area, say the west, and work your way around in a circle to the north, east then to the south side. Take away the branches that are most clustered first, along with the wilted or weakened ones from pest infestation. These limbs are browned, spotted or broken and hanging loose.
Cut into the other small branches that are less prominent, while keeping a uniform appearance and neat style. Round out the tree or bush, and be sure your deeper cuts are even. Do not remove too much from one area, leaving a bald spot within the foliage. This thinning will drive all the nutrients to less foliage and blossoms than the tree had to manage before. The tree can then concentrate its efforts on a smaller scale and develop beautiful limbs and larger flowers.
Evaluate the buds as they first appear in the spring. Select buds that are of large size, throughout the limbs of the tree. These buds are ideally chosen for their potential to become grand blooms, but also for their location on the branches. They should be sparsely distributed throughout the limbs to give even coverage. A rose or mum could have two blooms per stem, where as a cherry blossom could have several dozen due to their size in comparison with the branches.
Pinch away the blooms that are smallest. Remember to keep your pruning even and account for the bloom size. A flowering tree will look best with blooms spaced 2 to 3 inches apart, yet a bush could go 6 inches between blooms.
Pinch back buds throughout the season to enhance the plants desire to bloom more. Less buds means more nutrients and attention will be given to the few blooms left behind. These blooms will then grow larger, and their stems will become lush with foliage of rich green.
Tips & Warnings
- Pruning works best for rejuvenation just after the plant or tree has bloomed at its peak in midsummer. By pinching the smaller, less prominent buds throughout the spring and summer, the plant will then be ready to grow lush blooms for fall. This will keep your plant in color all season, and will push it to produce more seeds in an effort to replace the ones that were taken from pinching.
- Protect your hands with garden gloves. Wear them when cutting a limb, or when pinching buds as protection against unseen insects.
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