Pruning Tools Of The Serious Gardener
Here’s What You Need To Give Your Plants A Trim!
I agree it’s scary to give your plants a trim, but if you want to do it right, you need the right pruning tools to be a serious gardener.
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As a result, your plants will thrive, and here’s the pruning tools you need.
Even many otherwise confident homestead gardeners may suffer a collapse of confidence when faced with the responsibility of pruning.
When should you make the cut?
Where should you make the cut?
Why should you make the cut?
Doesn’t it hurt your tree or shrubbery?
Fear not, at least not too much.
Your plants are never going to take you to court for sloppy shearing.
And, it is actually pretty difficult to harm them if you follow a few basic rules and invest in good tools.
A word about that: Using the proper pruning tools is key.
There is a good reason why there is a special tool for each task.
The correct shear, pruner, or saw provides the correct cut, minimizing stem damage and the possible introduction of disease.
Each tool makes the cut that gives the plant for which it was designed the best chance to heal itself.
So breathe easy, go shopping for more plants and start pruning.
Shaping Up Shrubs And Ornamental Trees
For late-flowering shrubs, prune in the late winter/early spring, before the new growth has taken off.
Shrubs that flower in the springtime up through June should be pruned immediately after blossoming has run its course.
Note: June 1st is the official end of the Spring gardening and planting season.
For example, azalea, beautybush, clematis, dogwood, forsythia, lilac, redbud, magnolia, and wisteria go under the knife once their flowers have fallen.
Camellia, crape myrtle, mimosa, and many of the roses, though roses are a hotly debated topic in the pruning world, are best pruned before Spring growth begins.
Don’t just wade in like a samurai warrior.
Get a sense of origin.
Clip the longer branches back to a half-inch above a node or bud.
If you cut to a bud, see that it is facing outward unless you wish to promote dense inner growth for whatever reason.
A light trimming will help create more, smaller flowers and branch growth.
A heavier onslaught will produce fewer and bigger blooms, which is what I did to my peach trees last fall.
Trim hedges before new growth exceeds a foot in length.
This will help prevent lower branches from being sun-starved and scraggly, promoting maximum bushiness at the bases.
Step back every so often to observe your work.
Here are the main tools that I recommend for pruning:
Hand pruners with slightly larger heads and decidedly longer handles, loppers will dispatch unwanted branches up to 2 inches thick or a little more. Hand pruners get the lion’s share of attention, but they will never replace loppers, which make easy work of branches that turn a hand pruner into an instrument of torture to the plant and the pruner.
For deadheading flowers, you will need flower shears, which make a delicate, clean cut.
Even the sharpest of the burlier hand pruners will likely crush the stem.
Shears are available in a variety of styles, from the slendor to the lovely butterfly shape of some Japanese models.
These tools also called secateurs, act on woody stems, up to 1-inch in diameter.
If you are a lefty, look for a left-handed tool to get the cut on the proper side.
If you have a job that’s beyond the capacity of the lopper, you need a saw.
Saws now maintain a wicked sharpness for a long time, but the design is as basic as it ever was: handle and blade.
Some fold to protect the blade and you.
Others have stationary blades.
It is the improvement in tooth design and manufacture that stands out.
Teeth routinely now cut on the pull stroke for greater ease and control.
And, the teeth are precision ground, some with up to three angles, making brisk work of a dead or damaged limb.
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