local ornamental pruning expert

Ornamental Pruning

Why do we prune?

Manage growth - Correct structural problems while the tree is small - Aesthetic beauty- Because it is fun!

Types of Pruning

Thinning - the act of removing competing foliage within the crown of a tree or shrub to improve air flow, improve looks and to enhance structure.  This type of pruning has many applications.

Reduction pruning - A very useful tool in keeping  trees and shrubs small(er).   Larger trees with defects such as decay, weak crotches, etc can be preserved by making them shorter and less of a target to wind.  Many trees are removed by tree companies which could have been given a longer lease on life by reduction pruning .  Reduction pruning relies on cutting branches back to laterals or natural growing points. This NOT the same as tree topping.

Structural pruning - Often structural problems trees encounter could have been avoided had its branching structure been pruned while the tree was small.  Co-dominate stems with sharp angled crotches or "forks" are often the "weak link in the chain" resulting in failure during wind storms.

Clouding - a type of thinning whereby openings are made to allow sunlight to reach inside the plant to encourage inside growth.  This is how boxwoods should be pruned.

Shearing - Reserved for shrubs - where by the outside foliage is cut along an even plane.  I often see Large hollies and hemlocks at the corners of home that are sheared.  This becomes a maintenance nightmare as the act of shearing stimulates rapid new growth.

Natural pruning - a form of reduction pruning  whereby  leaders are pruned back to a natural growing points.  The plant looks more natural and rapid regrowth is not stimulated as with shearing. 

Deadwood removal - When a limb, branch or any part of a tree or shrub dies, the plant is throug.  Removal of deadwood makes trees and shrubs much more attractive.  As an act of sanitation , is also a good practice.

Tree Topping - generally a poor practice which should be avoided if at all possible.  Topping messes up the metabolism of trees resulting in rapid regrowth , results in root death and opens the door to potential future structural problems.  Topping creates trees with un-natural crowns.  One could argue that this is a form of reduction pruning with the same effects as shearing .  Trees are not shrubs!  However, there are some cases where topping cuts can be a good option in restoring a declining crown.

 

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