25 Reasons to Prune Plants

By ACS Distance Education on August 15, 2016 in Horticulture | comments

Plants need to be pruned for all sorts of reasons.

Understanding why is the first step toward understanding how.

Here are some of those reasons:

  • To remove storm damaged growth.
  • To recut a torn or damaged section as a result of storm damage or injury.
  • To rejuvenate an old tree.
  • To rejuvenate a leggy tree with weak growth.
  • To reshape a tree with a poor structure.
  • To redevelop the structure of a tree to develop a framework that is stronger and more supportive to the growth than the original branch formation.
  • To let more light into the centre of a tree or shrub for more air circulation and to help fruit ripen with more sun and light and prevent mildew and stem rots.
  • To prune out wood or growth damaged or containing pests.
  • To give a plant a better shape.
  • To dwarf or make the overall growth more compact by regular pruning.
  • To give bushier growth: as the outer growth is trimmed it forces side shoots to develop more growth, shoots and flowers.
  • To encourage more flowering and fruiting wood.
  • To reduce dominant wood and slow the growth so that more fruiting and flowering wood will occur.
  • To remove green-leaved shoots that have grown on a variegated plant
  • To develop a stronger framework such as on the growth of buddleia where multiple trunks develop from the base and few but stronger shoots are needed to prolong the growth of the plant.
  • To remove old wood to encourage new shoots and flower (e.g. roses).
  • To reduce growth to produce fewer but larger quality blooms and fruits.
  • To remove dead growth.
  • To remove crossing wood that will rub on and damage other growth.
  • To remove diseased limbs and parts of the plant.
  • To train ornamentally attractive forms e.g. coppicing, pollarding and topiary.
  • To encourage strong growth of colourful barked shoots from the base
  • To create a bushy hedge.
  • To reduce the size of an overlarge tree in a suburban garden without removing the whole tree.
  • To reduce the size of the crown of an important veteran tree to keep the tree alive for as long as possible if the tree is historically important or of sentimental value.  This normally involves removing the dead branches.

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