local ornamental pruning expert

Ornamental Pruning

Why do we prune?

Manage growth Correct structural problems while the tree or shrub 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 natural growing points and is NOT tree topping.

Structural pruning - Many structural problems trees encounter could be avoided if the branching structure is pruned while the tree is small.  Co-dominate stems with sharp angled crotches or "forks" can be the "weak link in the chain" resulting in breakage in storms.

Clouding - a type of thinning whereby openings are made to allow sunlight to reach inside the plant a 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 houses which are sheared.  These become a maintenance nightmare as the act of shearing stimulates new growth immediately.

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

Tree Topping - a very poor practice which should be avoided if at all possible.  Topping messes up the metabolism of trees resulting in rapid regrowth , causes massive root death and opens the door to potential future structural problems.  Topping creates trees with un-natural ugly 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 cases in storm damage repair whereby topping cuts would be a good option in restoring a damaged crown.

 

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