gardener pruning a plant using shears

Promoting Plant Health and Aesthetic Appeal Through Regular Pruning

Pruning is vital to the health of woody perennial plants in a garden. Careful attention to pruning basics can help homeowners maintain the beauty and vigour of the plants and trees in their landscapes.

Moving to a new home where the landscape has been allowed to become overgrown presents a challenge to the homeowner. Controlling the growth of overgrown shrubs, trees, and weeds is a daunting task. It must be done carefully to ensure the health of the plants and subsequent growth, which can lead to more manageable, aesthetically pleasing outcomes.

All the more daunting is having to restore an entire landscape with several overgrown trees and shrubs. The sheer volume of waste produced by major landscaping work such as widespread pruning can be overwhelming for home gardeners to handle by themselves. Having a garden cleanup service on call can ease the challenge of trimming back an overgrown garden and bringing it back to a workable condition.

The Necessity of Pruning

A hedge allowed to become overgrown is more than just an eyesore. Shrubbery needs periodic trimming every few years not only to keep its shape but also to maintain the health and vigour of the individual plants. Left to themselves, hedges would become a tangled mass of branches and stems that constrict the ability of the plants to grow.

Pruning stimulates the production of new growth in plants, and properly pruned plants tend to be more productive in terms of foliage, flowers, and fruits. Unless the space in the garden is small, shrubs and trees need major pruning only every three or four years. Minor trimming might be done more periodically, especially to vigorous shrubs. The right amount of pruning can even reinvigorate older shrubs.

Pruning can also help control or eliminate diseases in shrubs and curtail their spread throughout the plant. It is vital for maintaining the desirable aesthetic green appearance of trees and shrubs. Besides helping hedges and shrubs keep their shape, pruning also promotes a greener appearance.  Careful and regular pruning is responsible for the creation of unique garden elements such as espaliers.

Pruning Essentials

woman pruning plants in her gardenPlants respond differently to extreme pruning. Many shrubs grow better with regular pruning. They may even flourish better when pruned to their stumps. Plant species that do not respond well to regular pruning may need to be replaced once they’ve become overgrown. Before getting started, carefully determine the pruning requirements of each perennial in the garden.

To maximise its effects on plants, pruning must be done during the right season. Shrubs that bloom in summer, for instance, should be pruned in spring. On average, home gardeners should not worry too much about pruning smaller plants too soon—although the plants may not yield much in the season, they will usually survive. When taming a pre-existing overgrown shrub in a property, it is often advisable to cut the entire plant back to two feet (61 cm) in height to facilitate more manageable growth.

However, careful pruning needs to be regularly performed on trees. Trees have special considerations when pruning. Because of their size, they need to be pruned in a way that facilitates stable growth. Especially severe pruning may be required to restore a lopsided tree’s stability. A tree should not have its top branches completely cut to maintain its stability.

Besides looking unruly, an unpruned tree is vulnerable to snapping and damaging the surrounding property. In addition, an improperly kept tree may not readily recover from any damage it has sustained from lightning and other accidents, leading to weak growth.  To improve its chances of survival, a poorly groomed tree may need professional attention.