Pruning Sheila Dunning What is Pruning? • Removal of plant parts – Shoots, branches, fronds, flowers • Improve health • Control growth • Influence flowering & fruiting – Roots • Encircling Why Prune? • Routine maintenance – Don’t wait until overgrown If a plant needs to be pruned several times each year to control size, it is probably the wrong plant for that location • Proper plant selection may eliminate the need – Florida Grades and Standards – Dwarf cultivars – Save landfill space Plant Grading System – Florida Fancy – Florida # 1 – Florida # 2 – Cull Document available online at http://www.doacs.state.fl.us/pi/pubs.html Florida Fancy • Characteristics of Trees: – Single straight trunk – No chlorosis • Characteristics of Shrubs: – Exceptional health – Well shaped – Densely foliated Florida #1 • Characteristics of Trees: – May require some corrective pruning to develop good structure – Minor trunk defects • Characteristics of Shrubs: – Healthy, vigorous – Well branched – Well foliated Florida #2 • Characteristics of Trees: – Require major corrective pruning – Badly misshapen – Sparse foliage • Characteristics of Shrubs: – Healthy plant – Fairly well shaped – Fair foliage and branches Reasons to Prune • • • • • • Maintain or Improve Health or Vigor Control Plant Size or Form Train Young Plants Influence Flowering & Fruit Production Safety Rejuvenate Old Plants Maintain / Improve Health • Remove dead, dying or damaged branches • Remove diseased or insect infested parts – Limits the spread – Sterilize or replace equipment between cuts • 1:9 Alcohol or bleach : Water Control Size / Form • Standard, espalier or topiary forms • Thin canopy – Never more than a 1/3 foliage cover at a time – Remove ½ - 1” diameter stems from edge – Never clean out interior • Root prune – Slows growth & produces compact plant – ½ rootball at a time – 4-6 weeks apart Cleaning of interior can leave trees more vulnerable to wind damage Train Young Trees • Should begin within the first 2-3 years after planting • Continues for 20 years or more • Good branch structure improves strength and longevity • Frequent light prunings encourages faster growth & prevents undesirable sprouting Influence Flowering / Fruiting • Pinching new growth increases number of flowers • Severe pruning produces fewer, but larger flowers • Removal of deadheads encourages re-bloom • Larger fruit produced when number of flowering branches is reduces Safety Hazards • Stem attachment influences structural strength • Remove branches with bark inclusion • Remove dead branches and stubs Attachment Strength • Codominant stems are not well attached to each other, especially when included bark is present in the union • Branches are more secure when they are small in comparison to the trunk Included or Embedded Bark Included Bark Pruning Embedded Wood Pruning Techniques • Heading – Hedging, shearing • Thinning – Reduction Heading • Selective cutting of terminal ends of young branches to a node – Forces growth from lower buds • Produces shorter plant • New growth is vigorous and upright – Can lead to interior shading / leaf loss • Avoid top-heavy plants by heading shoots to varied heights Growth Habit Following Heading Heading cuts should be made on a slight angle ¼” above a bud, facing in the direction of desired growth. No Heading Cuts for Trees Except when required due to storm damage Topping Trees Thinning • • • • Complete removal of branches Gives open appearance Increases light penetration Encourages wind resistance Pruning Steps for Trees 1. Remove dead, diseased or broken branches. 2. Select best permanent branches – – Spacing 6-24” apart Remove or shorten others 3. Remove suckers from trunk base – Don’t remove branch sprouts – tree struggling to survive 4. Form central leader – – Depending on species Reduce length of branches with bark inclusions Two Year Process Reduction Cuts Where To Cut Proper Pruning Cuts Never cut a branch flush with the trunk Proper closing of a pruning cut. Branch collar is intact Wound wood forms a circle. Don’t leave a stub Pruning Cut Without a Visible Collar Flush Cuts Reduction Cut of Large Branch Remember • Don’t remove more than 1/3 of the crown at a time. • Better to prune a little at a time over multiple years. • Maintain 50%-70% live crown ratio • Avoid removing limbs >4” diameter. Pruning Paints and Wound Dressings Do not prevent wood rot, cracks, or mushrooms. Some dressings may actually promote decay by trapping moisture. Palms Are Not Trees • Never damage terminal bud • Remove only brown fronds and flower stalks • “9-3” if green must go • Harbor insects & rodents • Hazard to people or property Use the Right Tool for the Job Questions?