Pruning your plants is an essential gardening task that should be done regularly. However, many gardeners shy away from pruning, thinking it’s a complicated and difficult task to master. Incorrect pruning techniques can damage your plants, cause unnecessary stress on your wrists and hands, and you may even end up losing an entire season of abundant blooms. Learning the right techniques and using the proper tools will help you maximize the growth and quality of your plants.
Let’s look at the pruning techniques you should use, depending on the type of plant/s you have.
THE BASIC PRUNING CUTS
There are three types of pruning cuts, each having their specific purpose.
Thinning cuts are made to reduce plant size by cutting a larger stem back to a smaller lateral branch that is at least one-third or one-half the diameter of the cut stem.
Removal cuts are done to remove a branch or stem entirely, reducing the density of your plant to permit light to penetrate interior branches and encourage desired growth. Making a removal cut is similar to thinning cuts, all you have to do is cut the side branch back to the larger parent branch.
Heading cuts have a similar purpose with reduction cuts: reducing the length of a stem but by removing a branch regardless of its position or size of lateral branch. Heading cuts are undesirable for many because it decreases the plant’s health and may result in a dead stump.
THE PROPER ANGLE TO CUT
It is important to master the right angle when pruning flowers, bushes, shrubs or fruit trees. The cut must be at a 45 degree angle, just above a leaf axle where there is a dormant eye. Cutting at this angle will allow water to drain off the cut and prevent disease caused by the moisture that could possibly build up. On the other hand, making the cut slope down and away from the eye will divert the excess natural sap from pouring down and interfering with the developing eye. To prevent transfer of disease caused by sap build up, we added a sap groove feature on our pruning shears so that sap is channeled off the blades.
PRO TIP: To avoid the transmission of disease from one plant to another, clean your pruning shears regularly and if possible, wipe the blades before snipping a different plant. Knowing how to care for your pruning shears will not just prevent disease-causing pathogens from damaging your plant but will also keep the blades clean and sharp.
Petunias and marigolds can develop leggy stems with few flowers if not properly pruned. When trimming annuals, remove the ones in front, cutting about four to five inches above the soil line to help thicken the growing plant.
Foxgloves and other spring-flowering perennials will bloom even more when cut back after blooming because it promotes new growth. On the other hand, fall-flowering perennials should be pinched back before they bloom for a fuller and 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.
Most gardeners prune their shrubs to control its size and improve its shape. After your shrubs bloom, use your pruning shears to thin out the outer branches just above the new growth so that the inner limbs receive air and light. You can also cut further back to encourage growth along the limb. Dead and diseased branches can be removed anytime.
PRUNING FRUIT TREES
When pruning apple trees, citrus or any fruit trees, remove at least 1/3 of the branches every year. Using a tree trimmer, cut the dead, dying and diseased branches first, followed by branches that are going inward, clustering, crossing with each other and at an acute angle because you need to focus the energy on the parts that need it most.
PRO TIP: Some fruit trees have thicker branches that cannot be handled by your regular pruner. Using a lopper that can cut through wood up to 2 inches thick should do the trick. Our loppers have high-quality carbon steel blades paired with a compound action system which multiplies your cutting force by 3 times so you won't have to struggle when trimming fruit trees that are generally too big. This is complemented by 29-inch handles for added reach and manoeuvrability for higher limbs.
At Haus & Garten, we're dedicated to helping you prune your annuals, perennials, shrubs and fruit trees by equipping you with the right pruning tools. With your needs in mind, we carefully designed the Haus & Garten Titanium Bypass Pruning Shears with the most efficient features: high-quality carbon steel blades, convenient wire-cutting notch, micrometric adjustment mechanism for even more precise cuts, along with ergonomic-styled handles to reduce hand fatigue especially for arthritis sufferers.
We are confident that our pruning tools will make your pruning projects easier and more enjoyable through their smooth performance and design. Now, you can prune like a pro!