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Best Time to Prune is Now Till Bud Break

eddie Sheers

Why Prune?

•          Control plant size or form

•          Remove damage (mechanical, disease, etc.)

•          Prevent potential damage (overlapping branches, poor crotch angles, diseases, etc.

•          Stimulate new growth (rejuvenate old plants, fill bare areas, increase flowering, etc.)

 

When to prune:

•          Corrective pruning due to injury or dead tissue should be done as soon as evident.

•          Avoid pruning from August 15 until plants are dormant.

•          Most pruning should be done during the dormant season or immediately after flowering.

 

Rules of thumb:

•          The “May Rule”.

•          May defined if the plant blooms before May 1, prune immediately after flowering has ended (flowers produced on old wood or last year’s growth: Azaleas, Forsythia, etc.)

•          If the plant blooms after May 1, prune during the dormant season (flowers produced on new growth: Crape Myrtles, Lilac Chaste tree, etc.).

•          As with any rule there are exceptions: Oak leaf Hydrangea.

 

General rules of Pruning:Eddie Hand Pruners

•          Local in affect (usually within 6” of cut).

•          Cuts should be made ¼” above a bud or to a crotch (Lateral branch).

•          Cuts should be made at angles.

 

Pruning Equipment: (Make sure blades are sharp)

•          Hand Snips (for small branches)

•          Loppers (branches > 0.75” in diameter)

•          Pruning Saw (limbs > 1.5” in diameter)

•          Shears (for a more formal look)

•          Pruning Knife (for clean-up)

 

Safe Pruning Principles:

•          Keep equipment clean and in good repair.

•          Appropriate, properly fitted safety equipment for job (eye and ear protection, no loose fitting clothes, etc.)

•          Keep equipment within your control zone. Don’t over extend, know the limitations of your equipment and yourself.

•          Know your surroundings (overhead utilities, other workers, etc.).

•          Be able to identify Poison Ivy, Poison Oak, and other skin irritants.

 

Quick Tips to Remember:

•          Pruning: Remove dead wood and seed pods annually during the dormant season.

•          Size control should be done by cultivar selection, not by pruning.

•          To promote a second set of flowers, prune away faded or spent flowers throughout the season.

 

For more information, click here for a UF / IFAS Extension publication on proper pruning techniques.

 

     If you have any questions contact your local county extension agent.Eddie Loppers

by Eddie Powell – Walton County Extension Horticulture Agent

PG

Author: pep5 – pep5@ufl.edu

pep5

Permanent link to this article: http://okaloosa.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2013/02/15/best-time-to-prune-is-now-till-bud-break/