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Why Pruning is Essential | My Gardening Network

Why Pruning is Essential

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Have you been afraid to prune your bushes? Relax, be brave. Contrary to a popular misconception, one should not approach the seemingly formidable task of pruning favorite bushes with fear of killing them. Within reason, appropriate pruning of trees and bushes actually makes them much healthier rather than threatening or destroying them. Pruning is essential to assure the sustainability of not only trees and bushes, but the beauty of your surroundings.

Mistakes will be Made

When pruning,it is inevitable that sooner or later one may cut off the wrong branch too quickly and regret that impulsive action. Even the best yardmen have done so– but they also learned quickly making mistakes –and became more skilled with practice, just as you will. Making mistakes is a learning opportunity, just as pruning, to a bush or tree, is an invitation to grow more fiercely. Growing things are forgiving and do recover, so there is room for error, even those made by the most reluctant pruner.

Why Pruning is Essential

Pruning for Specific Benefits

To understand specific requirements for pruning is to recognize that bushes become much healthier with the correct and selective pruning. Care must be taken, but pruning creates a better environment for the bush. As a simple example, thinning out thick concentrations of branches allows light to enter and encourages air to circulate. Increased air motion within the structure of a bush reduces dampness, so moulds and fungus are less likely to grow, and the environment becomes less attractive to insects.

Light penetration into the bush is increased , increasing photosynthesis, which makes the bush stronger and healthier. Removing dead material reduces susceptibility to disease, and removing a single diseased branches can eliminate the necessity to remove and replace bushes.

When considering fruit-bearing bushes, keep in mind that selective pruning can substantially improve production of fruit and berries. Berries such as the Honeyberry ( Lonicera caerulea ) produce the majority of fruit on shoots grown the previous year.

Pruning can be used to direct or limit growth where desirable, remove excessive, undesirable growth, and make bushes more aesthetically pleasing. In practice, and in fact, it is a good thing to prune bushes.

Did You Know?…

Pruning forms the basis of the centuries-old practice of topiary in the incredibly ornate landscaping and gardens on the estates of aristocrats and the castles of kings.

Pruning bushes may be likened to selective, careful management of resources. Removing weak, diseased branches allows bushes and trees alike to concentrate on feeding the available nutrients to the healthy branches and growth instead of wasting energy and resources trying to sustain diseased, broken, or dead branches.

There are many methods of pruning and various aspects of pruning are offered as solutions to specific problems. There are specific approaches to create unique growth patterns, as in the meticulous shaping of landscaping topiary and the ancient art of bonsai, but most of the important, basic rules of pruning apply universally. Be brave. Pruning is essential, and can be beneficial, even in your back yard.

© Raymond Alexander Kukkee

Raymond is a freelance author and writer who practices traditional and experimental gardening using natural, sustainable methods in the challenging Zone 3 environs of Northwestern Ontario. Read more articles by Raymond.

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