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Spring pruning promotes healthy plant growth

June 8, 2011

Staff Report

HERNDON, Va.—Spring is a great time to begin most lawn and landscaping projects around your home. During this time, it is important for homeowners to clean up any debris left over from winter storms as well as check the health of the plants on their property. Pruning during spring months can help promote growth and aid in keeping plants in good health.

The Professional Landcare Network (PLANET), the nation’s lawn, landscape and interior plantscape association, offers the following pruning tips to improve plant health:

1. Prepare garden tools. Before beginning any garden project, it is important to make sure you have all of the necessary equipment to complete the task. It is also important to make sure all of the tools that will be used in your project be in good working condition. Make sure pruning shears and saws are sharp and free of rust. The use of inadequate pruning shears could lead to plant damage.

2. Make clean pruning cuts. When pruning, it is important to remember to make clean cuts on the plant’s branches and to avoid removing large amounts of healthy stem tissue. Improper cutting could lead to bark tearing and stem damage that could leave the plant susceptible to disease.

3. Remove dead/diseased branches. Removing branches that are diseased or infected by pests will improve the health of the plant and help promote growth. If these branches are not removed, it is possible for the infection to spread to other parts of the plant.

4. Prune branches for safety. Some low-hanging or damaged branches can cause injuries and/or property damage. Prevent potentially hazardous situations by removing branches that obstruct walkways or rest on personal property.

5. Hire a professional for large projects. Hiring a professional when branches are hard to reach or when larger trees are in need of pruning is the best way to ensure personal safety when a lawn project becomes overwhelming. Green industry professionals are skilled in handling all sizes of lawn and landscaping services. Professionals are knowledgeable about all varieties of plants, and have access to tools that are better equipped to handle large maintenance projects.

In addition to these tips, PLANET member Shayne Newman, Landscape Industry Certified Manager & Technician and president of YardApes, Inc., of New Milford, Conn., recommends doing a bit of homework before beginning a pruning project for the first time.

“Pruning plants at the wrong time of year could potentially sacrifice blooms,” Newman said. “Every plant, shrub or bush has different pruning requirements. If you are unsure about when and how to prune, consult a professional.”

For more information, or to find a green industry professional, log on to LandcareNetwork.org/findaprofessional.

From the June 8-14, 2011 issue

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