Pruning is an aspect of gardening that can only be ignored for a while.
The purpose of this course is to provide the basic techniques that will instill the confidence to pick up the scissors and start cutting.
It is important to deepen the aspect of pruning based on following the natural tendencies of plants. The concepts expressed are valid for pruning related to gardening and fruit growing of a hobby and family type.
Given that in nature there is no voluntary pruning, but only an involuntary one based on natural events, such as the wind that can break branches or animals that can eat shoots.
Therefore? What is the real reason why it is necessary to prune plants
In view of the above, the plants are pruned on the basis of three objectives:
1. Give the plant the desired shape
2. Contain the dimensions
3. Improve and increase fruit or flower production.
There are various types of pruning; we summarize the main ones
- production pruning: when the aim is to stimulate the plant to produce the greatest quantity of flowers or fruit. In some cases, qualitatively speaking, the goal is to improve the size of the fruit;
- farming pruning: when the final purpose is to give a particular shape to the plant;
- containment pruning: the goal is to contain the size of the plant;
- trimming: when the only action necessary is the simple cleaning of the smaller branches;
- rejuvenation: when we want to almost completely eliminate all the old branches of the plant, allowing the general rebirth of the branches;
- maintenance: it is the pruning that is mostly performed on some hedge shrubs to always keep the same shape.
The system that will be explained in this course is simple, with few rules and easy to understand, suitable for the amateur gardener and the family farmer.
We will give the plant a regular shape and as natural as possible, without obstructing or limiting the sap that flows inside the branches, facilitating the circulation of air and the penetration of light into the foliage.
Before starting any pruning work it is good to understand what goal you want to achieve.
It is necessary to have suitable equipment available in order not to cause damage to the plants, as in some cases it is important that the cuts are clean and precise; good equipment also allows for an easy and fast practice.
Remember that poorly pruning a plant could damage it and slow down its development.
We will analyze a natural system that indicates the removal of complete branches, avoiding cutting in the middle of the branch. The cut must be made at the point where there is a bifurcation, it will be clean and parallel to the surface of the remaining branch. Stumps that could cause problems to the plant and its development must be avoided in the most absolute way.
We will start removing the branches according to the following schedule:
1. dry or broken branches;
2. the branches that grow oriented towards the inside of the plant;
3. the internal vertical shoots;
4. the branches that cross each other or continue parallel to the same destination.
It will be important to keep the symmetry of the foliage under control, so as not to have imbalances that can ruin the plant.
Another important notion is that of the return cut, which can be used if you want to encourage the growth of a shorter branch at the expense of a longer one.
The branch that you would like to shorten is cut at the level of the attachment of the lower branch, so that this replaces it in its apical function.
The one just described is an excellent system that does not interrupt the regular flow of lymph, avoiding the emission of re-shoots in the cutting area, reducing further pruning in subsequent years.
This system is adaptable to all fruit plants and many of the ornamental shrubs or trees.
To achieve excellent pruning, the cut that is made is very important.
Pruning shears, saws or loppers should be used.
The most important feature is that the cut must be clean, without burrs and leave smooth and compact surfaces. The tools used must be precise and always well sharpened, cuts that are not clean or have a rough surface allow the settlement of microorganisms, which can penetrate inside the trunk, creating serious and sometimes irreparable damage to the plant.
For greater safety it is recommended to disinfect the surfaces resulting from the cut by applying 5% copper sulphate or using propolis tincture and coating them with synthetic bark. There are products on the market that disinfect and seal the cut with a single operation, as they contain antifungal products.
Synthetic barks should be applied using a brush; they can be applied on the natural wounds of the plant, preserving it from the attack of bacteria, as well as on the pruning cut.
Features of flowering and fruiting of plants
The large family of plants that bloom on the branch of the year, such as vine, rose, wisteria, blackberry and hibiscus,
they have a pruning that must be performed in two distinct phases. In the first phase the excess branches are eliminated as reported in the previous paragraph, while in the second phase the branches emitted in the previous year are shortened, cutting them on a bud facing outwards.
The cut never sees it being too close to the buds, always leaving 3-4 mm of branch above the bud itself.
Pruning course: Tools for pruning
In this last paragraph, but of primary importance, we will evaluate which are the most suitable equipment for pruning. It is advisable to always purchase equipment from well-known brands in order to have spare parts in the future and guaranteed safety on the quality of the cuts and the work performed.
The main tools used for pruning are:
- the lopper
- manual shears
- the curved saw
- pruning shears
- the hacksaw
- the pruner
- the scissors with telescopic handle
Finally, remember the use of synthetic bark or mastic to be placed on the cut using a brush or a spatula