Pruning in the Garden
Sandra Haynes – Grayson County Master Gardener
February is noted for two items in the gardening world. It is the time to
start seeds for spring planting. But it is also the time for pruning trees, bushes, and roses by the end of February. Trees should be pruned while dormant.
Here are some facts concerning pruning.
Reasons to prune:
To train the plant
To maintain the plant’s health
To improve the quality of flowers, fruit, foliage, or stems
To restrict growth.
What to prune:
Remove the Five D’s -Damaged, Dead, Diseased, Dinky and Directionally-challenged.
Remove all broken, dead, or diseased limbs to point of origin.
Remove branches that are rubbing and/or touching another branch.
Remove any branch that is crossing. (Growing from one side of the plant to the other.)
Remove any branch or limb that is pointing toward the ground.
Remove any suckers that grow from the base of the trunk or stem.
Remove or deadhead any dead blooms such as crape myrtles, roses, and vitex for more blooms.
Step back and look carefully at your work of pruning, as you may need to finish shaping the plant to maintain symmetry.
Here are some more facts concerning pruning.
Don’t use anvil type pruning shears; they crush the stem. Sharp by-pass type pruning shears are best.
Cut rose branches at a 45 degree angle about one-quarter of an inch above the node.
Tree limbs at narrow angles (45 degrees or less) are weaker than 45 degrees plus. The narrow angled branch should be removed from the tree trunk/stem.
Tree branches larger than one inch should be removed flush with the branch collar and not flush with the trunk.
Always maintain the natural shape of the tree or shrub.
Selective and directional pruning guides the plant growth. (Especially true of climbing roses.) It helps the circulation of air through the plant, which in turn helps prevent the dreaded Blackspot disease that plagues so many crape myrtles and roses.
Remember that pruning causes wounds that expose the plant to insects and disease. Don’t make a cut that is not necessary.
The cut should never be ragged (your pruners need sharpening), but always smooth.
The main trunk of young trees should never be cut back.
You should not seal the cuts with pruning spray.
For more information on pruning there are books in the Library or buy yourself a book on pruning. It would be a wonderful Valentine’s present to give to yourself.