The importance of pruning in caring for a garden cannot be underestimated. In fact, no plant in a garden can fulfill its role without proper pruning. As a gardener prunes, it is imperative that he or she remembers:

-The goal of pruning is to bring out the best in each plant. Prune to bring light and air into the plant, while carefully removing dying, diseased, or potentially harmful parts. Before pruning, learn how to encourage the best growth response for the situation. This concept is the secret to long-term plant care.

As mentioned last week, careful hand pruning is preferable to shear pruning not only because it allows for careful, more intentional cuts, but also because it can be used throughout the plant. Shear pruning touches only the external surface of the plant, ignoring the plant’s need for light and air in its interior. By contrast, hand pruning can be done throughout the plant, so that issues below the surface can be addressed and the interior of the plant can be opened up to life-giving light and air.

While pruning, the gardener should remember not only the appearance of the plant, but the health of the plant as well.

Contributed by James Hanselman

The Gardener (& experienced pruner)