Tools To Help You Prune Your Garden

Person clipping a branch.
When and how should you prune your garden? 

Is your garden looking wilder than you would like? If your trees and shrubs are growing out of control, some pruning could be in order. What are the benefits of pruning? What are the best pruning tools for your garden? Read on to learn more.

Why Prune Your Garden

Why should you prune your garden? While many plants never need to be pruned, pruning can be of great benefit to your garden. It can: 

  • Help your plants grow in ways that assist them in bearing fruit or growing against a trellis or a fence.
  • Help your plants develop branches. According to Science Daily, “the main growing shoot of a plant can inhibit the growth of the shoots below – that’s why we prune to encourage growth of branches.”
  • Remove dead parts of the plant so that it can grow up strong and healthy, with enough sunlight available to each part of the plant. 
  • Remove parts of the plant that are diseased or could attract insects or diseases.
  • Remove wood that might fall on your roof, causing damage to your roofing.  
  • Get rid of branches that grow upright on trunks or side branches, and reduce the number of suckers – shoots that develop near the ground. This helps the plant put its energy into growing in a way that suits your garden.

When to Prune 

When you prune depends on your goals for the pruning and on the types of plants that you have. 

  • If you have plants that bloom in the early spring, prune them after they blossom. This allows you to prune prior to the time when they would set their buds for the coming year.
  • Plants that bloom in the summer tends to grow their flowers on new growth. Prune them the winter before or in the very early spring, before they have made that new growth.
  • If you’re not growing a plant for its blossoms but for its foliage, you can prune it at almost any time of the year except for the late fall, because that could encourage new and tender shoots to grow right before winter. Better Homes and Gardens states that “if you want to do major pruning, it’s best to cut the shrub back when it is dormant in winter.” 
  • The same rules apply to trees. However, if a tree is an imminent danger to your garden and your roofing, you can make an exception. Cut that branch that’s going to fall on your roof during the fall and winter storm season. Assess your trees each season so you can catch problems before they happen and prune in a way that’s safe for the tree and your home.
Woman pruning her bushes.
Loppers can help you cut larger branches on small trees and large shrubs.

Essential Pruning Tools for Your Garden

If you’re pruning, what pruning tools do you need? 

  • Pruning shears are the small tools that are held in one hand and used for pruning smaller branches. Use these for pruning objects of up to 3/4 of an inch in size. They come in several varieties. Bypass pruners act like scissors and are good for cutting, not crushing plant stems. Anvil pruners have a straight blade that works for dry branches. Ratchet pruners allow you to cut in stages and are good for those who are concerned about damage to their wrists.
  • Loppers are longer pruners that work in the same way as the small ones. However, since they are larger than regular pruners, they can cut branches up to about 2.5 inches wide.
  • If you have a larger branch, look for a pruning saw. These small, handheld saws can cut branches up to 5 inches in width. 
  • Hedge shears allow you to cut straight across a hedge or a group of perennial flowers that are growing together.
  • Manual or electric pole pruners allow you to reach up to 8 feet in the air to prune. This prevents you from needing to step onto a ladder with pruning shears.

In general, you should look for pruning tools that are: 

  • High-quality. This means that they are safe and won’t break in your hands or while you are pruning.
  • Easy to maintain. While maintenance is important for all pruning tools, it’s particularly important for tools that you are going to have to use to cut parts of your garden. 
  • The right size. If a pruning tool is too large for you, then it’s not safe.

At Harry Helmet, we want your home and garden to look their best and function at their best as well. Talk to us about all of your roofing, gutter, and gutter cover needs. Schedule a free estimate today.

Written by Del Thebaud

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