In the springtime, we are all itching to get our landscape back into good shape again. A lot of the time, we plan out what we want to do and then wait until the weather is perfect before we hit the dirt. However, you can easily and effectively do your springtime landscaping now. All you need is a sharp pair of scissors!
10 Tips for Springtime Pruning
Springtime is the perfect time to prune landscape plants and trees. Here are ten tips for doing so safely:
1. Know the risk. It’s easy to overdo it in springtime pruning, especially for trees and shrubs. If you notice any twig or branch movement or unusual leaf color, a sickly appearance, or other signs of distress, then don’t prune that plant. If a tree or shrub has been severely damaged by repeated summer storms, or is crowded and unsightly from excess growth of multiple stems, remove some branches to improve appearance .
2. Don’t prune during an active storm. Wait until the threat of rain or a sudden downpour is over before pruning.
3. Do prune after spring rains and before new growth shows up on plants, especially in hot weather areas.
4. Prune young trees and shrubs to make room for them to grow and are still firm.
5. Pruners should be sharp, but avoid cutting stems more than 1/2 inch above the soil line and do not prune branches that are more than 1/8 inch in diameter.
6. Be careful when pruning limbs of existing trees and shrubbery as well as newly trimmed branches, because they may break off and fall to the ground or their neighbors below.
7. When pruning we want to keep a piece of the plant on the branch, not just part of the stem. When removing a branch, cut it back right at or slightly before where it joins the main trunk or main stem, then cut the lower part of the branch off to form a stub. This will cause the branch to grow straight up and not curve or fork, which causes it to break off and fall down.
8. It is important to use the right size pruning sheers for your type of tree or shrub, because they have different blade shapes (long, medium, short) depending on the growth habit of your plants; however, remember that taller plants need taller pruners than shorter ones.
9 . Choose a good time for pruning. The best time for pruning is when the plant is dormant. This means that the plant has stopped growing, and therefore it will not be disturbed during the process of pruning. Of course, it should also not be rainy or windy at the time of pruning either.
10. Prune in stages to avoid damaging your plants with excessive stress and trauma.
Some things to consider before pruning your landscape while it is springtime
There are things to consider before pruning your landscape while it is springtime in the spring. One thing to consider is when you will be able to reach those bushes and trees that you want to prune. If the leaves are on the bushes, then they should be safe to work on. In general, avoid pruning plants during times of rapid growth if they have until next fall before they need to be cut back again. For example, avoid pruning a Japanese Maple that has just been planted or a Dogwood tree that is beginning its flowering season.
If you do decide to prune trees and shrubs before the leaves have fully developed, take extra precautions. Wear protective gear including gloves, a face shield, and a dust mask. Also, wear thick clothes like a long-sleeved shirt because when the branches are cut back and held in place with straps, they can cause injuries from the splinters flying off of them.
Also, be aware of what time of day you will be pruning your trees and bushes as it will determine how much they will be exposed to the sun and air temperature. Â Avoid pruning on cloudy days or during the hottest part of the day when the temperature is over 100 degrees F, as it may weaken your tree or bush.
When to Prune and other Lawncare Tips
The best time to prune a landscape is in the early spring before new growth begins. It is best to do this to give the plants time to establish their root systems and get closer to the ground. Make good use of your trowel or shovel by making long cuts that are deeper than they are wide. This will help loosen up the ground and allow water, nutrients, and oxygen to flow into the soil. Be careful to leave at least one-half inch of roots where the stems used to be.
Pruning is best done on a warm, sunny day and before any rains or after a dry spell. Plants need water between the hours of 10:00 A.M. and 3:00 P.M., so give them plenty of attention during this time period.
Mulch trees within six weeks of pruning and fertilize them with a balanced organic fertilizer. Apply 1/4 pound of actual nitrogen and 3 pounds of actual phosphorous per 100 square feet of lawn. Fertilizer is best applied anytime from July through September, three times during the growing season. The first application should be made in the spring, while the second and third applications are made in early summer or late summer. A four-pound application of fertilizer is recommended for a 200 foot by 100 foot lawn.Apply two 1/2 pound doses of nitrogen, one at the beginning and one at the end of the growing season.
Pest insects need to be controlled during budding, blooming and seed setting in order to avoid excessive damage and loss of your plants. When pruning trees, first remove any dead or diseased branches from the main trunk. Continue removing dead branches until there are no more than six on each side of the trunk. Then remove any branches that are touching each other and those that touch the ground. In containers, apply fertilizer every two weeks in spring and summer and every six weeks in fall and winter. Follow the directions on the label to determine how much to use. Avoid over-fertilization which can cause leaves to wither (burn) or roots to rot. To prevent weeds, use a pre-emergent herbicide regularly during the growing season throughout your lawn’ s growing season. Apply the herbicide to a 2-inch band from the ground or within 6 inches of the soil surface. Water well after applying herbicide.
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