Trees and shrubs inevitably need Pruning as they start to grow up and out. Learning How to Prune and When to Prune is fairly easy, even if the actual execution takes a little time. Pruned trees and shrubs will not only look nicer, they will also be more likely to produce flowers and fruit in abundance.
Knowing When to Prune is very important. For the most part, fall and early winter are the best times, as the plants are less active at this point. They will usually heal themselves and unless you live in a tropical climate, the cuts can be left alone. In some areas, where there are bugs that may cause problems, you may need to use a sealant to help the tree heal. Dead branches can be removed at any time, as it doesn't matter whether they are dormant or not.
There are several reasons to prune. For trees, it can be both a safety and an aesthetic issue. Large branches may be likely to crack and fall down in high winds, so they should be removed. If a tree is near the house, it may have branches that are rubbing on the siding or windows, making it necessary to trim them back.
Fruit trees will produce better when they are Pruned, putting the nutrients and energy into fruit instead of branching out. This also prevents the tree from growing so tall that it is impossible to reach the fruit.
Pruning should be done very carefully. The cuts should always be made at the nodes, where one branch or twig splits off another. In cases where you are removing large branches, you will need a saw to remove this. Any dead branches should be trimmed back to near the trunk, as they are useless. Living branches need to be evaluated. On fruit trees, you will see suckers, thin willow-like shoots that grow vertically from the branches. These are not fruit producing and need to be removed. Shears are usually enough for these, as they are soft and easy to cut.
For some types of Pruning, such as crown Pruning, it may be more economical and easier to hire a Tree Service. In most cases, the top of the tree is too high and has either interfered with power lines or has become a danger. A service can reduce the top of the tree to make it safer and eliminate potential risks. In most cases, this requires chopping off the entire top of the tree, but it could also be Pruned to give it a more natural look.
Remember that too much Pruning can destroy your tree or shrub. You should never remove more than 25% of a plant at one time. If necessary, you can trim it back bit by bit over the years until you have the shape desired. This does not apply to any branches that are already dead, of course.
Knowing How to Prune is a valuable skill to have. You can keep plants healthier and producing better if you know When to Prune, as well. The right cuts here and there can make all the difference in the trees and shrubs in your garden.