Figure 3. Never apply wound paint or tar, as this is typically used for cosmetic reasons and may actually lead to a greater chance of infection. Make first cut (undercut at pink arrow). Figure 25B. These cuts direct growth, retain a more natural shape, and allow greater light penetration, thereby increasing interior growth. Figures 23A. Cooperative Extension is based at North Carolina's two land-grant institutions, If extensive pruning takes place before spring growth, cold injury may be a problem. This approach is typically accomplished with shearing or heading-back cuts. The final cut removes the stub left at the collar. Reduction cut to reduce height of a juniper. Figure 11. Figure 18B. A tree with codominant stems has more than one central leader, and a bark inclusion may occur in the branch union as these branches grow. Do not leave a stub (which could make it difficult for the plant to seal the wound) or cut too close to the bud or branch, as that could damage the branch collar. Figure 4C. How can you tell when they bloom? If you know you will not be able to return to the plant within a year or two, prune at planting. Branches with a, If you need to remove a limb larger than 2 inches in diameter, you should use the three-cut method (, If you wait until later in the life of the tree to make corrective and structural pruning cuts, you will necessarily be making larger wounds (, On occasion, a plant will “tell you” that you made an incorrect cut (, bud develops from places other than a shoot’s, Choosing which branches to remove is a matter of science and art. Understanding a few basic pruning techniques will help you determine how and when to prune shrubs. Other than thinning and shearing, you need to know how to rejuvenate a plant. Make the easy cuts first. The following series of pictures illustrates various plant growth habits and shows how to make a variety of pruning cuts. removal cut—removing branches at the branch collar; typically done to open the canopy to air movement and increase light penetration. We will present a few of the most common forms. Figure 5. Always consider contacting a certified arborist for large tree pruning, as they have the equipment and knowledge to make the best cuts. This contributed to branch failure. The angle between the cut and branch bark ridge approximates a 45° angle. On this tree, the proper first undercut would have prevented bark ripping, particularly important on larger-diameter branches. Late winter: Prune just before spring growth begins. How would you prune this glossy privet? You can do light pruning about anytime. Additionally, if you leave a large enough lateral branch, decay should not enter the remaining branch. Then either tie the branches to a frame or onto a flat vertical surface of some type, such as a wall, fence, or trellis. Typically, this is done through removal cuts. Figure 32. The second cut removes the branch’s weight. Autumn: Prune those species such as birch, elm, and maple that “bleed” heavily (sap flows from the roots to the top of plant) in late winter or spring when sap is not flowing. Figure 18A. Some broadleaved evergreens bloom in spring, while others bloom in summer. They didn’t undercut, and they cut into the collar by making a flush cut. Late summer/early autumn: Limit pruning because it may stimulate a flush of growth or delay dormancy in species such as elms and maples that flush many times in a growing season. elevate (crown raising)—the removal of low branches to produce a taller, clear trunk that increases access under the canopy. For some plant species, removing only older wood (1 inch in diameter or larger) allows young wood to thrive and produces better flowers. Most commonly, heading cuts are made along a stem without regard to the location of nodes (buds or stems). Branch collar shown at white arrows on a sycamore. It is what allows trees and shrubs to endure injuries without succumbing to them. We cover this subject in detail in a companion publication in this series, How to Prune Specific Plants (AG 780-04). You first must know the species, its condition, and the reasons you are pruning. Join the RHS today and support our charitable work, Keep track of your plants with reminders & care tips – all to help you grow successfully, For the latest on RHS Shows in 2020 and 2021, read more, RHS members get free access to RHS Gardens, Free entry to RHS members at selected times », Reduced prices on RHS Garden courses and workshops, Our Garden Centres and online shops are packed with unique and thoughtful gifts and decorations to make your Christmas sparkle, General enquiries

general pruning guidelines

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