Ornamental trees and shrubs can be costly to purchase and to upkeep, so it is best to do what you can to extend the life of them. In order to keep them healthy and strong, pruning is necessary from time to time. Knowing the correct time to prune them is essential for proper results and to prevent harm to them.

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When to Prune

The best way of knowing when to prune an ornamental tree or shrub is to know what kind it is and research that specific plant. Also, asking questions of the nursery staff can be beneficial.

In general, the best time to prune most trees and shrubs is in the winter or very early spring, when the plant is dormant. Pruning during a dormant state allows the branches time to heal before they begin growing or budding. It is also much easier to prune without leaves and flowers since it is easier to see what is being done and what is being cut. When the leaves fill back in, the plant will typically hold the shape to that of which the branches were pruned.

Certain trees and shrubs such as maples, birches, dogwoods, walnuts and elms, however, should not be pruned during this time period, so it is essential to know what the plant is and what that specific plant’s needs are.

How to Prune

The first step in proper pruning trees and shrubs is to be sure the tools used are clean and the blades are sharp. Dull blades will not cut a branch; it will rip it and could cause serious damage to a plant. It is recommended for most plants that cuts are made at an angle.

Next, it is essential to trim off any dead, dying, or diseased branches; although dead or dying they can suck the nutrients out of the plant.

Finally, prune the plant as recommended but be sure there is nothing overhanging onto a walkway or into the path of a lawn mower. Also, most plants will need to be thinned enough to ensure sunlight reaches the center.

Sum it up

When caring for trees and shrubs, not all trees and shrubs are created equal. Research is the key for each particular plant being worked with. Lawn care services, tree service companies and nurseries are excellent resources to ask questions and get recommendations from.

If you are ever unsure of what to do, how to handle a job, or just too short on time it is best to call a professional to be sure the job is being done correctly. Look around, ask friends or family, and research companies on the Better Business Bureau to find a company that you can trust.

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