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The essence of plant pruning

By Vision Reporter

Added 23rd March 2007 03:00 AM

NEW gardening techniques have been cloaked in as much charm as pruning, yet basically it is a simple and logical process. It is cutting off a piece of a plant bit by bit and thus achieving the gardener’s goal of either shaping the plant or encouraging more flower formation.

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NEW gardening techniques have been cloaked in as much charm as pruning, yet basically it is a simple and logical process. It is cutting off a piece of a plant bit by bit and thus achieving the gardener’s goal of either shaping the plant or encouraging more flower formation.

By Winifred Rukidi

NEW gardening techniques have been cloaked in as much charm as pruning, yet basically it is a simple and logical process. It is cutting off a piece of a plant bit by bit and thus achieving the gardener’s goal of either shaping the plant or encouraging more flower formation.

It is important to note right from the beginning that pruning is not, essentially, a way of keeping a shrub, tree or conifer small.

Bonsai, a specialised method of pruning that restricts growth, is the technique that is suitable only for plants grown in shallow pots. For example, it may include leaf stripping and clipping and rout pruning. Therefore you should not buy a plant that will eventually become too large for your garden.

It is the woody plants that are the prime candidates for pruning. And these come in the form of ornamental shrubs and trees, bushes and canes, climbers, hedges and topiary.

Roses which have been given a cult status are flowering plants that need regular pruning to keep them healthy and capable of creating more and more radiant displays each year.

There are many ways of pruning a plant and this largely depends on what type of plant it is. However, there is a technique which is basically followed.

A cut, when pruning, should be slightly sloping, with the upper point just above the bud. See picture ‘a’ above.

If a cut slopes downwards towards a bud there is a danger that the bud may be damaged (picture ‘b’).

If a cut is too high the stub will die back and allow diseases to enter (picture ‘c’).

The essence of plant pruning

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