If you have not read our previous blog on pruning (that covers when and why to prune) make sure to check that out before jumping into pruning today! Obviously, how to prune a plant depends entirely on the type of plant you are dealing with.

There are three types of pruning cuts we will cover with you today. Be sure to watch the videos below for a demonstration!

Thinning Cut

Thinning Cut- this is the easiest of the pruning cuts to understand-you are thinning out a plant so that it can get more air and sunlight. Thinning helps plants not grow out of control. When done correctly, thinning cuts reduce the density of a shrub and do not stimulate growth. The overall purpose is to remove branches at their point of origin

Heading Cut

Heading Cut-these type of cuts are a little more tricky. Overall, heading cuts control the way a plant grows. Pruning using heading cuts improve the shape, control size, or increase density. Heading cuts can even help you to get more flowers or fruit or larger flowers or fruit from your plant. A heading cut is used to prune back to the bud no more than 2 years of growth. Wherever you make your heading cut, growth will be stimulated closest to the wound. The direction that the top remaining bud is pointing will ‘direct’ the new growth-meaning if you do not selectively make your heading cuts your shrub could grow rapidly in wild directions-making your plant look out of control. Using heading cuts correctly can make the plant keep its natural shape and form.

The 3-Point Cut Method

  • For larger branches, be sure to use the 3-point cut method. This helps reduce stress on the tree from the weight of the branch. It prevents breaking at a point that could cause disease or rot to enter the wound.
  • Avoid leaving a ‘stub’ sticking out after pruning. This can welcome disease and rot.

Photo Courtesy of Virginia Tech-Virginia State University by Susan C French and Bonnie Lee Appleton; Linda Lucz

Want to learn more about pruning? Check out these blogs:

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