The Importance of Tree and Shrub Pruning

Man pruning shrubs

Cutting trees and shrubs is one of the most important works in the garden. It aids our health and also enhances the beauty of the plants. Indeed, there are several reasons why trees and shrubs are cut:

  • Transform: To create beautiful, thick hedges, e.g. Boxwood, holly, hornbeam.
  • Health: Sick or parts infected with fungi are removed.
  • Controlling growth: Pruning in the summer pruning slows tree growth, while winter pruning stimulates it.
  • Planting and pruning: Trees and shrubs without roots are pruned directly after planting to restore the balance between circumcised roots and upper parts. The treetop is then formed.
  • Grade average: Serves to ensure that trees retain their growth and flowering strength. The old wood is cut out.
  • Rejuvenation pruning: Radical pruning of the shrubs. It is cut 10 to 20 inches above the ground. Often applied to shrubs that bloom on new shoots every year, such as Buddleia, hazelnuts, privet and honeysuckle. Note: for the following shrubs pruning does not usually apply: conifers, laburnum, cotoneaster or broom.
  • Reduction: This will bring all out the weak, sick, dead or dense vegetation and cut to allow more light through, while also ensuring better air supply.
  • Fruit cut: Helps the fruit quality to increase in fruit trees.

Man pruning shrubsThe regular summer pruning should also increase fertility, among other benefits. Here you must be very careful. One wrong cut could cause you to have less or no crop for the next year. A summer pruning is performed both during and after harvesting. The fruits develop, depending on the type of one-, two-year or older shoots. For this reason, one must be extremely careful. For example, it would be a mistake to cut all young shoots on a sour cherry, for it bears the fruit only on last year’s shoots. On older plants no buds form, and therefore no fruit.

If one assumes care of a small garden, it sometimes happens that in the garden older fruit trees and shrubs are already present, of which one does not know exactly which type of fruit there is. Therefore, I limit myself solely to the information generally applicable to the fruit species.

Fruit trees:

Apple or pear trees bear fruit on 2-year or older wood; cut out the excess water shoots, and it can also be thinned

Cherry bears on 2-year-old or older wood; the shoots are shortened

Plum fruits on 1-to-2-year-old wood; a reduction is performed

Sour cherry and peach carry on 1-year wood; old shoots are shortened

Fruit bushes:

Raspberries bear fruit only on last year’s formed rods, so after harvest only the harvested rods are cut

Blackberries bear on the side shoots of last year’s rods; harvested rods are cut

Gooseberry and blackcurrant bear the 1-year-old wood (light impulses), so cut out only old (dark) wood

Blueberry, red and white currant: 2 and 3-year-old wood; cut out only old wood


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