The main goal when growing trees and shrubs is to create a really good shape that both looks attractive and also encourages air circulation around the branches, because this helps to counteract disease. II you are growing fruit trees, pruning can also be used to improve the quality and quantity of fruit produced.
Many trees and shrubs have a naturally balanced, attractive habit and the advantage of requiring only a little pruning. Generally, evergreens belong in this category and require far less pruning than their deciduous counterparts; this may be some¬thing to consider when deciding which trees and shrubs you want to include in your garden, especially if the time you have to dedicate to maintenance is limited.
By and large, major tree pruning is best left to tree surgeons. The main reason for this is that if you get it wrong, you are loll with an eyesore. The branches are also large and heavy, and you cad injure yourself or a bystander, if you make a mistake. I he general rule should be that if you have a well-established, mature tree of a reasonable site. you should consult a tree surgeon. However, removing diseased or damaged branches from smaller trees is well within the capabilities of most gardeners.
Deciduous trees are normally pruned in late autumn or winter when they are dormant. I his applies especially to birch (Betulct) and maple: the sap will bleed if these trees are pruned during the growing season, so
Plants are pruned according to their pruning group. Plants in group 1 are deciduous shrubs that require little pruning when mature. Plants in group 2 are deciduous shrubs that flower on the previous season’s growth and are pruned after flowering. Plants in group 3 bear flowers on the current season’s growth and are pruned in early spring.
Group 1 plants in this group require no regular priming oilier than removing any dead, diseased, or dying wood when it appears, and lightly pruning the old lowering shoots.
Group 2 These plants require pruning to remove old flower-hearing wood straight after flowering has finished, giving (is much lime as possible for next year’s flowers to grow.
Group 3 Plants in this group are pruned hard in early spring, back to a framework o) older wood from which (he new shoots will emerge.
prune them when they are fully dorm,mt. When the trees are young, pruning will help to establish a balanced shape. For more mature trees, you should only prune to maintain the shape you live and to encourage growth. Removing any thin or crossing branches from the main structure of the tree will allow light and air into the center of the framework. Some evergreen trees, such as some magnolias, do not need to be pruned at all. II they do need pruning, it should be done in late spring. II the tree is immature, you can encourage a strong central stem by training a vertical shoot upward and removing competing leaders. With well-established evergreens, simply remove any-weak or unshapely branches by cutting hack to a healthy shoot.
Most deciduous shrubs will gradually become weaker and less attractive it left to their own devices. Getting a good open shape is an important element in pruning shrubs. The main goal is to remove an) branches that cross over and rub each other, because these will almost certainly allow diseases to penetrate the plant. You also need to encourage the branches to fan outward, rather than turn inward. To do this, you should make am pruning cuts just above outward-facing buds. If the buds mow in pairs, though, simply cut the stem straight across just above I he pair.
In addition to the cosmetic benefits of pruning, you will also encourage the shrub to flower, and you even prolong its life.
CORRECTING UNEVEN GROWTH
Many plants grow unevenly if there is one principal light source that is not overhead. To correct this, prune the shrub as shown here.
Unbalanced growth (left) Prune the less strongly growing side of the shrub more heavily. This encourages new growth on the weaker side to balance the shape.
New, even growth (right Once you have evened out the shrub, continue pruning in the appropriate manner, according to its pruning group