Pruning promotes healthy growth and improves the overall appearance of your garden. When done properly, you will be rewarded with fuller foliage and healthier plants in the next growing cycle.
Not sure what to do for winter pruning? Here are some of our top tips:
1. Don’t Prune Just Because
Pruning is a crucial part of plant up-keep. There are various reasons to prune a plant. It could be to encourage bushier growth or to keep the plant from getting too big. The last thing you want to do is to prune a plant without having a clear reason to do so.
Pruning is a form of restriction. When you cut off branches, you are sending a signal to the plant that you want it to remain a certain size, preventing it from growing to its full potential. Pruning a plant too early can impede its growth and affect its overall form.
2. Prune Lightly
Pruning heavily refers to the rookie mistake of snapping at multiple branches at once. Plants need to acclimate to everything around them – from the temperature, humidity levels in the air, to soil wetness and pH levels. When you snap off multiple branches in one go, you run the risk of “traumatizing” the plant.
As a response, it may drop all of its leaves or stop bearing fruit. Plants can go into a state of dormancy if it things its environment is no longer conducive to growth. To prevent plant “shock” prune lightly at a slow and steady pace. This also gives you time to observe your plant’s growth more closely without you hacking away at every branch.
3. Choose A Good Timing
Winter pruning is usually a good time to reduce your plant’s size. During winter, the majority of plants go dormant, only to come back fuller in the spring. During this period, plants are at rest and will not likely produce new leaves. Or if they do, you’ll notice that the rate is much slower compared to growth rates during the spring and summer.
Pruning during winter allows you to take control of your plant’s shape without getting in the way of its growth process. By the time spring comes again, your plant will be ready to take on the form you pruned it to and grow fuller and lusher than before.
4. Keep Your Tools Sharp
The last thing you want is to use a faulty saw, axe, pruning shears, or chainsaw. Whether you’re using heavy machinery or just a trusty axe, you want to make sure that your tools are sharp and kept in the best condition.
When you’re pruning, you’re essentially making a “wound” into the plant. Think of it this way: if doctors said you had to be amputated, would you prefer a sloppy job with an unclean cut or a professional, clean cut that is sure to callous over successfully?
5. Always Disinfect In-Between Pruning Sessions
Speaking of wounds, plants can also be subject to diseases. More specifically, plants can be subject to fungus and bacterial infections that can come from the pruning tools you use. It’s important to disinfect any tools you use on a plant before using them on another plant to the transfer of microorganisms from one plant to another.
We recommend soaking your equipment in parts of alcohol or bleach and water to kill off any residual germs. As professionals, we use specialised chemicals to ensure that our tools remain germ-free for healthy winter pruning, but household items such as bleach and alcohol should work fine.
Another way to disinfect your tools is by using fire. If you’re using a small axe or small pruning shears, you can simply hold it over a lighter to heat up the tool before using it again. Allow to cool down before performing a prune job.
6. Prune In Stages
Winter pruning is like giving a haircut. For most people, pruning is done to maintain a certain shape. Whenever you’re pruning, take your time and make sure you stand back and take a look at the plant before making another cut.
You don’t want to end up ruining the plant’s form or worse, hit a flower or fruit bud and prevent the plant from bearing anything altogether. Be mindful of where you’re cutting and remember to step back once in a while to plan where you’re going to prune next.
7. Get A Pruning Professional
Winter pruning might sound like a very simple DIY job but it can be much more complicated than you think. Pruning isn’t as simplistic as cutting branches and snapping off leaves. As professional arborists, we implement various techniques to ensure your plant’s growth isn’t affected by the pruning.
When done right, pruning has many benefits. It can encourage flowering and fruit-bearing, as well as remove any damage successfully. But when done poorly, pruning can lead to a sad-looking plant that may never recover again.
Winter Pruning Doesn’t Have To Be Stressful
Get the job done right the first time. Get in touch with us to get an obligation free tree maintenance quote today.