Hedge pruning shears on a wooden base
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Avoid These Mistakes When Pruning Your Plants
Not Pruning
Orchard pruning for fruit trees and berry bushes is vital to encouraging fruit production. For shrubs and smaller plants, the practice keeps them healthy and allows you to shape them.
You may prune less if you’re trying to rewild your yard, but remember that refraining from ever pruning is a guaranteed way to let your landscape shrubs grow out
of control.
Tree Topping
When trees are topped it means their canopy is cut off or a good-sized portion of the trunk and primary branches is removed. It's a bad habit to get into, as it damages the trees.
Trees rely on
their leaves for photosynthesis, so losing the canopy can lead to starvation. A topped tree may have unhealable large wounds, and the resulting decay invites pests.
Tree topping also sets up a tree for failure, as the damage will send it into hormonal overdrive, causing it to quickly grow new branches that are inferior in strength.
Making Flush Cuts
A flush cut leaves a smooth surface on the trunk or branch by pressing cutting shears against the bark. This interferes with the tree’s ability to form a callus over the wound.
Do not damage the branch bark ridge and the branch collar — the slightly swollen part where it joins the trunk. Aim to make your cut just past the swollen section or any wrinkles.
Making Stub Cuts
Stub cuts are cuts made too far away from the collar that leave delicate internal branch tissue exposed to the elements. This cut allows diseases to make their way into the trunk.
These cuts will result in much weaker branches. They will eventually continue to get bigger and heavier, at which point they become a danger since they can detach and fall.
Using Dirty, Rusty, Or Dull Equipment
Rusted equipment is not good for our plants, as the uneven surfaces of the rust on cutting shears can capture and hold onto bacteria. Dirty equipment can also make trees sick.
Also, make sure your blades are sharp. Dull cutting blades make it impossible to get a clean cut the first time, and hacking away leads to jagged cuts and crushed stem tissue.