Thoughts and musings
Lewis | September 18, 2015 | 0 Comments
‘How to…’ Series #6: Prune with Effect
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Much like the hair on your head, plants grow. When your hair gets too long, you get a haircut. The same principle applies for plants. Without getting a ‘trim’, your plants will grow, potentially out of control. This can lead to a number of problems. Let’s use the example of a fruit tree; with uncontrolled growth, a fruit tree could starve smaller plants around it of sunlight as well as other resources due to its sheer size. This will effect your garden as a whole. Not only this, there would be a large portion of unwanted growth, also affecting the potential of fruit production from the tree itself.
Therefore, it is important to know not only how to prune your plants, but also to prune correctly. Luckily, it is easily taught and is something we will try to do here. By no means is this totally comprehensive, but we hope this blog will certainly give you a head start. So please read on to discover just three steps towards pruning your garden correctly and effectively.
Let’s stick to the fruit tree example.
It is important, before pruning starts, that you can identify and recognise certain features on your fruit tree that indicate certain goings-on and situations. For example, you can see how well it has grown, whether is is suffering from garden pests and diseases, and whether or not it will have a successful production next year in terms of fruit. A branch on your tree could have plenty of fruit buds, but due to the lack of vigour in the tree, they could become weak. On the other hand you cold discover a strong branch that is growing well vertically, but with no buds present. As you can see with these two very different scenarios, the outcome is the same: your fruit tree is suffering. It is just a case of identifying them and what to do. This brings us on to the second step.
Pruning isn’t just a case of cutting at will. It needs to be understood why pruning has to occur and how the tree will respond to it. First of all, pruning should occur during the Winter and the Summer, to prep the tree for the seasons to come. During the Winter, it is common practice to remove branches when the tree has shed its leaves. More specifically, the more branches you remove the more the tree will grow in the near future, as during this time of year the tree’s food store is within the roots, giving it a lot of energy. The removal of a whole branch encourages dormant fruit buds to grow. Also, try also to remove young wood. The principle of pruning is different during the Summer months. At this time of year, the tree’s energy is more at the top rather than the roots, due to the foliage it now has. Ironically, you want to remove growth of leaves and branches. This is because these leaf buds will turn to fruit buds instead, increasing the fruit production in the future, especially on young shoots. Now that you know this, it is time for the final step…
Dependent of the age of the tree, different types of pruning will haver to occur. For example during its early years, formative pruning will help create its shape. The height of the first prune will determine how high the branches will emerge from the trunk. When the tree is a little older, maintenance pruning is a must.This will help keep it healthy and in good shape for production. This will involve removing some branches when they are in a cluster, by way of ‘de-crowding’ the area. You can also carry out restorative pruning on older trees that have become unproductive. Therefore, pruning plays a large part in a tree’s life cycle and by doing so, you are extending its productivity and longevity.
May we say, we apologise for the delay in the release of this, the latest in our ‘How to…’ Series, considering the last one was a couple of weeks ago. But you can’t say it wasn’t worth the wait!
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