How to pursue Garden Pruning and Trimming

Every year there comes a time when you need to prune and trim the trees and plants in your garden. But do you know how to go about pruning and trimming the trees? Yes, pruning does involve a lot of prior planning. And you need to consider the reasons and purpose before you start the procedure too!

Let’s have a look at some of the reasons for pruning, before discussing the plan you should follow while pruning.

  • Pruning helps in maintaining the plant health.
  • It also helps in improving the overall quality of the flowers, stems and the trees.
  • It contributes in restricting growth.
  • Another reason for pruning is that it trains the plant.

How you can carry out pruning and trimming

The plan approaches to pruning

Do you know that cutting more than 25% of the tree any season leads them into shock? Yes, that’s right! So as a rule, you should never consider doing that and instead follow a particular plan.

Here’s what you can do. Make the pruning cuts in a definite order as it reduces the number of cuts that has to be made in total. Start pruning by first removing the dead and diseased branches and ultimately you’ll notice that no further pruning is required.

Next, make any training cuts if needed. By making lateral cuts, your trees and shrubs will start developing in a desired shape, thereby filing any open space. But do take care not to destroy the trees’ or plant’s natural shape and growth habit. Furthermore, make some corrective cuts to get rid of any weak and narrow crotches. Now, sit back and watch out for any missing areas.

The right time to Prune

So now that you know how to go about pruning, you might ask when the right time to prune is. Well actually, it can be done at any time of the year. However, pruning times may vary for a certain range of plants. Also, do note that pruning at incorrect time of the year will not lead to killing of plants as it’s popularly believed. However, continuous improper pruning will surely damage and weaken your plants.

If you’re still confused about the right pruning time, then late winter and early spring is really a good time to prune. And yes, avoid pruning after new growth develops during spring. For some plants, late summers is the time for their growth, hence you should avoid pruning at that time too!

If your plants have been damaged or are dead, prune them before additional diseases and insect problems start.

Avoid Wound Dressing

It is used only when cuts greater than one inch in diameter are made. Scientists believe that wound dressing or pruning paint contributes nothing towards protecting the wound area from insect or disease and instead, slows down the healing process. So in simple words, just avoid it for the benefit of your plants.

Make Prune Cuts Correctly

To accelerate the healing process of the woods, it is quite necessary for you to make all the cuts clean and smooth for which you must employ the use of nice, sharp pruning equipment. It might be very easy, but remember, do not, in any circumstance, tear the bark while removing branches. You must follow a set of specific running techniques, like pruning the plants on the basis of their bud arrangements.

If you need to cut an intersecting branch, select a branch that makes an angle of less than 45 degrees with the branch which you’ll be removing. If you want to remove the limbs that grow in upward direction, make slant cuts, as this will avert any collection of water in the cut and also accelerate healing.

Thinning or Topping - Which one would you prefer?

You can top your trees, i.e. cut it back to a few branches, which will ultimately make your trees more vigorous, bushy and upright, but on the other hand, it will have an impact on the tree’s structure and appearance. The regrowth could be weak in strength and might break off during severe winds or storms. Plus, it might also make the tree vulnerable to insect attack and diseases.

Thinning involves decreasing the tree’s size by removing the unwanted branches by striping them off from their origin point. This process will actually make the tree more open but conforming to its original branching habit, and accentuate its internal structure by strengthening it.

So comparatively, thinning the trees is a much better option to pursue.

Pruning mature trees

Although mature trees require less pruning, you might actually need some skilled and professional help to prune them. Limit yourself by pruning only the branches that you can reach safely from the ground and leave the higher parts for the professionals, someone who can climb easily and have the proper skill set along with the right equipment. The best time for pruning them is the dormant season.

Pruning shrubs

The best way to prune shrubs is to thin them out, i.e. you cut off a branch or a twig from its origin point. Doing so will result in a more open plant.

If you desire to maintain a shrub’s height and width for a long time, you can do so by thing it out. Employ the use of hand pruning shears or saws, but not hedge saws. Also, remember to start by thinning the oldest and tallest stems first.

You can also consider gradual renewal pruning, by removing the oldest and tallest branch from a height slightly above the ground.


Be cautious not to use fertilizers that contain herbicides. And treat your trees and shrubs twice in a year, once in spring and then once in the fall. But surely, remember not to over-fertilize as it can have negative effects like less flowering and excess foliar growth.

So concluding, remember to follow a specific plan while pruning. Prune at the correct time of the year by employing the right set of methods and equipment. Do not use fertilizers in excess and thin out your plants correctly. If you are not so much of a Gardener or do not have ample time to carry out trimming or pruning of your plants in the garden, you can always ask for the services of a professional who can help you out.