Optimizing Plant Health: Effective Pruning Techniques

Plant Pruning

Curb appeal is something we all enjoy but the landscaping that helps define it often requires several hours of monthly maintenance hours to keep it healthy and looking its best. Pruning is a necessary part of landscape maintenance but there is more to it than you might think.

Why is Pruning Important?

Plants that are not pruned or trimmed can become overgrown, throwing your landscaping design out of balance. Many plants cannot be restored to a smaller size once they have been allowed to grow too large and will need to be moved or removed all together to restore balance. Some plants require regular pruning to keep them healthy and prevent them from looking thin and sparse, while other plants can be harmed by pruning and should be allowed to grow naturally. Overall, it’s important to keep your landscaping in check to keep an enjoyable balance for the health and beauty of your plants.

How to Prune Properly

For some homeowners, yard work is an enjoyable hobby, while others prefer to hire a professional to save time and hassle. Either way, it’s important to realize that there are different forms of pruning and each plant has a pruning technique that is most beneficial to that variety of plant, shrub or tree.

In pruning shrubs, knowledge on the variety being trimmed is a must in order to prune properly. Hardy shrubs such as Viburnum, can be shaped with hedge trimmers in a manicured shape. On the other hand, shrubs such as Junipers need to be spot trimmed to shape the plant properly. Another type of shrub known as Arboricola is best cut by its stem rather than its leaves to help it grow thicker. Overall, the key to pruning shrubs is to knowing the needs of each variety for best results.

Trees require more precise pruning, trimming only the limbs or fronds that need to be removed for the overall look and growth of the tree. Crape Myrtles need to be manicured into trees for several years and can then be topped off each year to maintain a desired height or left to grow into a larger tree. Palms require pruning to remove dead fronds and seed pods for aesthetics and to help keep the seed pods from littering the ground beneath them while over-pruning can cause disease and deficiency. Other trees may require very minimal pruning only to remove dead, unhealthy or overgrown limbs.

Landscape plants come in all shapes, sizes and varieties and there are specific ways to prune each plant properly. If pruned improperly some plants will become stunted or possibly die. Each variety is different so it’s important to know each specific variety of plant in your landscape to keep them thriving and looking their best.

How Much to Prune

Knowing how much to trim depends on the type and growth rate of the plant. Some plants grow slowly, some grow fast, and others grow at an average rate. Conditions such as the amount of water and sunlight a plant receives can cause the growth rate to vary as well. Some plants benefit from alternate pruning where there should be variance in height when cutting the branches while different varieties react best to being topped off. Depending on the type of tree, shrub or plant and the desired look, the amount to be pruned varies greatly, so as mentioned before, it’s important to learn about each variety of plant for best results.

When to Prune

Generally, pruning should be done in mild temperatures when there is no chance of freezing. The best time to prune in Florida is spring and early Fall but it can be done nearly year round due to Florida’s warm tropical weather. It is important to make sure plants have plenty of water after pruning to assist with new growth, especially if the pruning is done in the middle of the summer when the temperatures are higher.

Contact us for a free quote now.

There are so many factors involved in properly pruning your landscape so why not trust a landscape professional to keep your plants looking beautiful? Contact us to discuss your specific landscaping needs.

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