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Lawn Care Blog

5 Do’s and Don’ts for Effective Early Spring Pruning

pruning trees shrubsBelieve it or not, spring will be springing in Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio, on March 20, 2014. And it’s time to think about pruning back some of your shrubs and trees during the early weeks of spring.

There are five basic rules of thumb to follow when it comes to proper pruning techniques. They are:

  1. Have a plan and a purpose for pruning your woody plants and trees. You shouldn’t be pruning for the sake of making everything look uniform and utilitarian. Instead, your purpose in pruning should be to remove dead, diseased, and damaged limbs; to bring life back to your trees; and to encourage growth in your trees and shrubs.
  2. Don’t top your trees. There’s a wives’ tale circulating that it’s good for trees to be topped. But the opposite is true. You actually can hurt your trees by topping them. It encourages weak growth; opens up your trees to disease and insect infestation; and retards the root system.
  3. There are two types of flowering shrubs that get pruned in different parts of the year: New wood blooms and old wood blooms. New wood blooms are those shrubs that need new wood to grow this season’s blooms. Old wood blooms are those shrubs that use last year’s old wood to form new buds and blossoms. In early spring, it’s okay to prune back your new wood shrubs, but hold off on cutting back your old wood shrubs. Once they flower, then you can prune them back in early summer.
  4. Do cut back your shrubs and trees to control their growth and look. If you bought a bush that was supposed to be two feet tall, yet has grown to five feet tall, it’s time to get out your pruning tools to reshape that bush to its right size and shape.
  5. Do use the right tools: hand-pruners, pruning shears, lopping shears, folding and bow saws. Use a hedge trimmer only on your hedges. And make sure all of your tools are sharpened and clean before you go out to cut back your woody plants and trees.

Even though there’s still snow on the ground in Ohio, spring really is around the corner. Get a head start on your pruning job by getting those tools cleaned and sharpened. Then, make a plan on which trees and shrubs need your immediate attention.

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About Wendy:
Wendy Komancheck is an accomplished Freelance Writer for Trade Magazines, Websites, and Local Businesses, specializing in horticultural articles. Check out Wendy's bio and website by Clicking Here. 

Sources: “Time to Prune Spring Flowering Shrubs,” http://web.extension.illinois.edu/cfiv/homeowners/030524.html.