Addition through subtraction
There are times when removing material from a plant to alter its form and growth can help it. Here are a few guidelines that should be followed.
- For most mature plants, never remove more than 1/3 of a plant per season.
- Use a clean, sharp tool, such as a bypass-style hand pruner or a pruning saw.
- It is best to prune when the plant is dormant.
- Do not leave stubs, prune back to a lateral branch or a bud.
- Always know why a plant is being pruned and what the final goal of the pruning is. There are two sustainable reasons that a plant would be pruned:
Remove dead, diseased or detrimental material. Broken material is detrimental, so is rubbing or crossing branches. Material that is creating an area for pathogen growth by significantly blocking air or light is also detrimental.
Material that grows in a manner that could or will cause interference problems or detract from the natural shape of the plant can be removed. Redundant branches or branches that grow towards the interior of the tree can often be removed.