Posted on: 8 April 2016
If you enjoy having trees and shrubs growing on your land, a good tree services consultant should be an important regular visitor to your property. Your tree services contractor will be best equipped to prune very large, mature trees and bushes for you, but you can maintain smaller specimens yourself by following these helpful tips.
Why is correct pruning important?
There are a number of reasons why pruning trees and shrubs is necessary.
- trees and shrubs can cause damage to any buildings or other garden structures they overhang if they are left to grow unchecked
- dead wood can provide a habitat for insect pests and diseases that could kill the tree or shrub, or reduce fruit crops
- thinning out thick growth can improve the shape of specimen trees and shrubs, and encourages more vigorous blooming and fruiting by improving air circulation and light penetration
Pruning perennial shrubs
The best time to prune perennial shrubs (long-lived shrubs that grow back every year), is in the autumn. Wait until the temperatures drop before you start this job. If you prune while the weather is still warm, the sap will continue to rise in the plant. As temperatures fall overnight, the sap may freeze, which damages the plant's stems.
When the plant has stopped producing flowers and the weather is cooler, you can use sharp secateurs to cut away any dead stems. This allows new growth to flourish in the spring. Dead stems will appear brittle and dried with no green wood to be seen when you cut them. Snip the stems as close to the base of the shrub as you can, taking care to pull out any loose bits of debris. This allows for good air circulation and removes a potential den for overwintering pests.
When pruning trees, be sure to make all your pruning cuts on the branch side of the stem collar. The stem collar is a 'lip' that grows at the base of every branch. It is important that the stem collar remains undamaged, as this provides a protective barrier for the tree against disease and entry by insect pests, and helps the tree to heal pruning wounds.
Make sure that all your pruning tools are sharp and clean, so that your incisions don't leave snags and to prevent transmission of disease from one tree to another. Clean the tools by simply washing them in a mild solution of household bleach and warm water.
You can maintain small trees and shrubs by following the guidelines above, whilst using a professional tree contractor to carry out maintenance work on larger specimens. Contact one of these contractors for more information.Share