There’s a few thing to keep in mind before cutting back your trees and shrubs this winter. Here’s a list to follow to make things a tad easier and more doable. Keep in mind that winter pruning promotes growth as well as watersprouts and suckers - so don't go crazy. If you want to restrict growth while reducing watersprouts and suckers, then go easy now and prune in summer.
Not all trees and shrubs need to be pruned. If it is flowering well, looks good, isn’t in the way and is doing what it is supposed to do, leave it alone.
For more on pruning click here to go to my website. For rose pruning, click here.
What To Remove
What To DO
Where TO Cut
Tree too tall?
Don't be worried about a tree becoming too tall and falling over. Nature isn't stupid. A tree's roots are at least the same size of its canopy. In fact roots reach out far beyond the canopy especially if there is room for the roots to spread out. When you prune off the top, the roots also die back in proportion to what was removed. So if your worried that your tree is too tall, cutting the top off is going to make an otherwise safe tree - unsafe.
If it a tree is interfering with any overhead structures such as power lines, then cut back the offending branches to a side branch or removed the entire limb. Don't behead it! Cutting back or removing all a tree's branches encourages even more growth. The tree needs foliage to make food, so it pumps out suckers to replace the lost stems and leaves. Suckers originate from the dormant buds from under the bark, not from the tree's core. They are easily broken off, especially in high winds and as they get longer. Suckers are not branches.
Pruning is to maintain health of trees and shrubs and should not be used to continuously reduce the size of a plant. If constant pruning is necessary, consider removing the plant and replacing with a plant of smaller stature keeping in mind its width and height at maturity. Select the right size of plant for the space.
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