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The Must-Know Basic Pruning Techniques for Beginners

The Must-Know Basic Pruning Techniques for Beginners

Pruning your plants is a crucial gardening task that might seem intimidating, but it doesn't have to be! Incorrect techniques can harm your plants and create unnecessary stress on your hands, wrists, and even jeopardize your blooming season. But don't worry -- with the right methods and tools, you can optimize your plant growth and health.

Let's dive into the pruning techniques that suit different types of plants:

Basic Pruning Cuts

There are three main types of pruning cuts, each serving a specific purpose:

1. Thinning Cuts

 Reduce plant size by trimming a larger stem back to a smaller lateral branch, ideally one-third to one-half the diameter of the cut stem.

2. Removal Cuts

Completely remove a branch or stem to reduce plant density, allowing light to reach interior branches and encourage desired growth. Similar to thinning cuts, cut the side branch back to the larger parent branch.

3. Heading Cuts

Similar to reduction cuts, these cuts reduce the length of a stem by removing a branch, regardless of its position or the size of the lateral branch. However, heading cuts are generally less desirable, as they can decrease plant health and may lead to a dead stump.

The Right Angle To Cut

Mastering the correct cutting angle is crucial when pruning flowers, bushes, shrubs, or fruit trees. Aim for a 45-degree angle just above a leaf axle with a dormant eye. This angle helps drain water off the cut, preventing disease caused by moisture buildup. Our bypass pruning shears feature a sap groove to channel sap away, preventing disease transfer.

PRO tip: Regularly clean your pruning shears to avoid disease transmission between plants. Knowing how to care for your pruning shears will not just prevent disease-causing pathogens from damaging your plants but will also keep the blades clean and sharp.

Pruning Annuals

For annuals like petunias and marigolds, prune by removing front stems about four to five inches above the soil line to encourage thicker growth.

Pruning Perennials

Trim spring-flowering perennials like foxgloves after blooming to promote new growth. Conversely, pinch back fall-flowering perennials before blooming for a fuller, more compact plant.

PRO tip: For annuals and perennials, your garden shears should be able to produce a nice, clean cut according to the stem's thickness. To make this possible, our pruner's micrometric adjustment system allows smooth operation depending on your preferred cutting action as it controls the tension of the blade.

Pruning Shrubs

Prune shrubs after blooming to control size and improve shape. Thin out outer branches just above new growth to allow air and light into the inner limbs. Remove dead and diseased branches at any time.

Pruning Fruit Trees

When pruning fruit trees like apples or citrus, annually remove at least 1/3 of the branches. Use a tree trimmer to cut dead, dying, and diseased branches first, followed by inward, clustering, and crossing branches at acute angles. Focus on directing energy to the parts that need it most.

Remember, mastering pruning techniques enhances not just the health of your plants but also the joy of gardening. Happy pruning!