Your landscape is now complete, with new trees, shrubs, pathways, and a patio. Now you may simply sit back and enjoy the show…. right? That’s true, but if you want to get the most out of your investment, you’ll need to do more-you’ll need to maintain it properly.
There’s one aspect of garden upkeep, in particular, that can take your garden from “good” to “amazing.” Aesthetic pruning, or expert hand pruning, is frequently neglected. However, there is no other ongoing work in your yard that will have a greater influence on the overall appearance of the landscape.
Your trees and certain bushes may be molded to maximize their natural forms while still fitting perfectly where they have been put if they are trimmed by hand year after year. Pruning can be natural or artificial, depending on the desired effect (see below for examples). The key is to find someone who knows what he or she is doing and then let them go wild.
Finding someone who is skilled at it, and also takes new clients may be the most difficult aspect of aesthetic pruning. In Edmonton, very few individuals can really be called aesthetic pruners, and the majority of them only do the pruning. So, yes, you will need to provide additional care to your landscape as a result of this procedure.
The first step to successful pruning is to do it at the correct time. Shrubs that blossom on new wood, such as rose-of-Sharon and summersweet, should be trimmed in late February or early March. This results in a greater number of smaller blooms in the first year. “Pruning spreads energy throughout fewer flower buds, allowing those that remain to eat more,” explains Lee Reich, horticulturist. Prune spring-blooming shrubs as soon as they’ve finished blooming, giving them the rest of the season to develop additional branches and buds since these bloom on old wood. ‘However, if you prune too late, you may always wait until the shrub’s flowers have faded,’ says This Old House landscape architect Roger Cook.
Two basic cuts must be mastered in order to perform successful pruning. Follow these instructions to learn how to use them to fix common issues.
When removing excessively trimmed shrubs, be careful not to prune in such a way that you stimulate new growth where you don’t want it and cut away damaged less robust wood. When cuts are made in the proper location and at a correct angle with a sharp, clean instrument, they heal faster. Find a branch on which there is a bud facing the direction you wish new growth to develop. Prune just above the bud at a 45-degree angle with the lowest point of the cut farthest from the bud.
Don’t leave more than a fourth of an inch of twig above the bud. This might lead to decay, as it allows too much room for rot. Cutting too low can cause the bud to dry out, and cutting at an angle greater than 45 degrees exposes a large surface area that is slow to heal, inviting disease.
Do remove branches by thinning them using a sharp knife or scissors. Trimming branch tips with hand pruners or electric shears results in tall foliage at the top of a shrub and a tangle of weak, leafless branches in the middle. Complete trunks are cut down to the base. Before proceeding, remove the thickest, oldest wood first. Remove larger parts of stems away from the main trunk to allow light and air to flow through the centre of the plant, causing healthy new growth to develop throughout. Remove older stems first before moving on to younger ones.
Don’t prune more than one-third of a plant’s mass in a year to maintain it robust and attractive.
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