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Pruning is essentially cutting away dead or overgrown branches or stems to improve its growth and capacity to bear fruit. But there is a common mistaken belief that by cutting you’re just controlling the shape and size of the plant. In a way it’s true, but there is more to it.
Cutting or trimming a stem or branch alters the bodily process of plants. It’s not just about removing a part of the plant, but more about what happens to what is left of the plant. When you cut you actually induce branching and when properly done, you determine where the branching will occur. In order to do this, you will need some knowledge of plant anatomy, its growing process. Because if it’s not done properly, you may cause the plant to weaken.
Plants behave or react differently, but most of them benefit from regular pruning. A large number of plants, fruiting or flowering types, prefer to be pruned when they are inactive, like in late winter through early spring. Some needs pruning right after flowering as they start producing new buds right after the old ones has fallen off. And there are some types that just need continues pruning to keep them active and constantly flowering. In short, you need to know the right time to prune and what plant to prune. Normally, the best time to prune is during February up to early April.
Although it’s hardly ever destructive, pruning at the wrong time may cause your plant a reduced amount of flower or fruit. It is also essential to know about nodes of plants as this is where the cuts are usually made. A node is the part of the plant from which the leaves grow, and just underneath it is also where roots grows when attempting to propagate the plant.
It is important to note that in pruning, there are two essential types of cuts and each causes different response from the plant. The first type is called heading cut, where you cut back to an intermediate point. This is usually done to encourage growth of the stem to a desired direction, to stimulate growth of flowers or fruit, and to prevent snow and wind damage on long stems and branches. The second type is called thinning cut, which is often used in pruning. This is usually a cut done to a strong node to take over its growth without shock. Often used on ornamental plants and shrub for an artistic look, removing low branches for clearance, for training, rejuvenating and selecting branches from hybrid flowers, etc.
A precise cutting is needed to enable quick healing and result in a vigorous growth of new buds. And to achieve this, proper pruning tools are needed like, secateurs, curved pruning saw, loppers, and pole saw. Make sure that your tools are sharp and are cleaned before and after each use with a disinfecting solution.
Pruning is an art which can really be rewarding and fun.