The best advice to give to anyone who is not an expert in pruning is to cut as little as possible. Remember that it is a lot quicker to cut off branches than to wait for them to grow back and it is always better not to prune at all rather than cut in a haphazard manner.
The opportunities for cutting off branches are plentiful for anyone with a garden. But pruning requires a mixture of good sense and a degree of experience. However do not worry if this task seems a little daunting for a beginner, it will soon become a real passion once you have picked up the basic principles.
It is commonplace for us to keep the natural shape and form of plants which characterize them, but through the pruning of plants it is possible to keep them under control, reduce their volume and increase the amount of flowers or fruit that they produce. Pruning will help to speed up the natural process of things.
Pruning is a great help to the gardener because it:
- keeps his trees and shrubs in good health,
- improves their flowering and the beauty of their foliage,
- and controls their shape and their volume.
Keep trees and shrubs in good health
Prevention is better than cure; regular care will help avoid most diseases. Cut off broken and damaged branches or where the bark is destroyed at a level where the branch is still healthy. Thin out the centre of the plant to let in air and light. Encourage the growth of new branches by cutting out the old ones.
Improve the flowering and the beauty of the foliage
Flowers and leaves are at their best when at the top and on the outside of a plant. Encourage new vigorous shoots growing outwards by cutting out branches that grow inwards.
Controlling the shape and the volume
Cut off branches that break up the natural or desired symmetry and silhouette of the plant. Get rid of or prune back weak branches to make them stronger, too light pruning will only lead to weak growth.