Thursday, March 18, 2010

Prune – is that a fruit?

The idea of “pruning” sends many people running out of the garden!!  What do you prune? When do you prune it? How do you prune it? What kind of pruner do you use????

Here is a very plain-language simple look at pruning for Early Spring…remember…this is for Early Spring…

What do you prune?

> Deciduous shrubs and trees (remember the “D” in deciduous can trigger your memory that deciduous plants “die back” in spring…thanks to my 5th grade science teacher for the memory trick:) )

> Roses

> All perennials

> All ornamental grasses

How do you prune it?

> For shape, prune shrubs accordingly

> To encourage new growth, prune shrubs back 1/3…in other words…prune it back to 2/3 of the size it is now

> To encourage better health or tame an overgrown shrub…use “hard cut” pruning method.  In other words do the opposite as above…Cut back 2/3…leaving the shrub 1/3 of the size it is now

What kind of pruner do you use????

> Anvil pruner: Used to trim woody or dead branchesThe Green Thumbers 009

>Bypass Pruner: Used to trim healthy branches The Green Thumbers 008

>Hedge or Grass Shears: Use for perennials or shaping soft shrub branchesThe Green Thumbers 007

>A Knife: as in from the kitchen:) Use like a scythe to release frustration and take down dead foliage The Green Thumbers 020>Cutters: What my 2 year old uses to help!The Green Thumbers 016

Electric Hedge Trimmer:  To make the job on grasses very easy and make me feel very, very powerful

The Green Thumbers 030

And lastly…before you have a funeral for your shrub consider

that this guy is still alive…(although living in my shadow – HA!)The Green Thumbers 028  This is cut back hard…very hard…but there is still life in there because the stems are pliable and fleshy.  I trimmed (note: with my anvil pruner) the dead branches. 

The finger test is always a good test with deciduous shrubs…if you can break it off…it’s a dead branch…if it bends…there’s still hope!!!  I will first root stimulate, then fertilize, water, and of course…pray!

Happy pruning!!!

PS…feel free to leave your questions or tips in the comments…we can all learn from each other…

And of course…come in to see us or visit

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