Magazine article Landscape & Irrigation

Pruning Practices

Magazine article Landscape & Irrigation

Pruning Practices

Article excerpt

Pruning is a cultural practice. Along with fertilization, irrigation, mulching, pest/disease control and weed control, pruning plays an important role in helping us achieve our goals in landscape management as a whole and with particular types of plants.

Reasons for pruning

* Keep plants from overgrowing their boundaries (if placed improperly).

* Remove dead, crossing, rubbing, broken, infected, infested or unsightly parts.

* Promote a denser canopy.

* Improve flower display.

* Improve fruit production.

* Shape into neat, geometric forms.

* Remove branches or fronds that pose a safety hazards.

* Rejuvenate old or unhealthy plants.

* Root prune root-bound plants or girdling roots at time of planting to encourage roots to spread.

* Remove parts that have reverted back to their less desirable genetic parentage.

* Train young plants to influence their eventual form and health.

* Eliminate potential for flower, fruit or seed production in the coming year.

* Reduce shade to understory plantings or tuff.

* Increase air circulation through a plant/planting.

* Increase sunlight penetration into plant canopy.

* Remove suckers from the base of a plant.

* Remove watersprouts from the branches.

* "Fix" a poor pruning job.

* Aim growth in a particular direction.

* Reduce frequency of need for physical pruning.

Methods of pruning

* Chemical pruning: Using synthetic substances (PGRs) to alter plant growth processes.

* "Frost pruning": Removing all freeze-damaged portions of the plant, but leaving living tissue to re-grow the plant.

* Deadheading: taking off spent flower blooms to encourage more blooms and reduce disease potential.

* Heading back: Making a cut just above a shoot bud, branch crotch or node.

* Mowing/scalping/verticutting: Cutting turf-grasses to maintain dense, low-growing groundcover

* Pinching: Using thumb and forefinger to snap off soft, single branch tips, encouraging branching. …

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