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The Practice of Pruning

Posted on 16 March 2011

Pruning refers to trimming off dead portions of plant life. The process of clipping back spent blooms, also known as deadheading during the season, promotes blooming and thus improves the shape, growth and appearance of a plant. It can even super charge growth of an otherwise limp plant. Pruning also helps in removing the potential threat of plant disease by removing pest’s most likely harboring locations.

 Pruning improves the appearance of a plant, by letting more sunlight and air into the center of the plant. By removing its uncontrolled growth for better circulation and to control the quantity and quality of the flowers produced, pruning will help stimulate initial growth in the direction the gardener desires. Here is how it is done:

 Step 1

Cut down the entire rose bush or shrub to a foot or two feet above the crown of the rose or roughly half of its original size. Larger bushes can be cut back just until the green within the branch is visible. What appears drastic, will result in rapid growth and more abundant flower blooming.

Step 2

Clean upall of the cuttings and any debris that has fallen or been blown under the bush during the winter to clean up the soil surface and prevent the spread of disease from insects.

Step 3

Water deeply after pruning and cleaning up the soil. Drench the soil and apply a fresh layer of shredded bark or cocoa bean hull mulch around the base of the bush. Keep the mulch a few inches away from the trunk of the rose and extend it at least a few inches past the drip line.

Many landscape maintenance companies consider the practice of pruning  essential as an early spring task with great low maintenance and long term benefits. Of course, pruning can easily be done by yourself. Do not overlook shrubs, bushes and larger trees as well. Dead branches just weigh down the bush or tree, so get rid of them. Think of it like giving your plants a haircut. The remaining follicles, or foliage in this case, will look more finished and produce healthier and often thicker growth.

Whether pruning a shrub or a rose bush, careful attention should be paid to the type of gear used. For large branches use a pruning shears or sturdy branch clippers, otherwise for smaller rose bushes, typically a hand held clipper will do fine. Also, it is not a bad idea to wear long sleeves. Rose bushes can grab and scratch without much effort.  Keep in mind, the simple effort of pruning, which rarely can be done incorrectly, has tremendous advantage for your future rose bush or garden shrubs.

Written by, Janine Buchal, March 2011

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