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Basic pruning – a beginner’s guide

Basic pruning. A beginners guide to best practices for trimming or pruning trees and shrubs. Tips on tools, cutting, shaping & cleanup. Transcript provided for the hearing impaired.

Basic pruning : today on REPAIRS101.
Now I’ll start out by saying that my pruner pole is by far the most used tool in my gardening arsenal. I bought it forty years ago and it still earns me money!
Of course you’ll need a saw – or even a few! Power tools are great, but they’re not for everyone.

Basic pruning tools - Garant lopping shear

Tools Tools Tools

Get a set of BYPASS loppers because ANVIL style do not cut cleanly.
Get some secateurs and or some flower shears.
These are GARANT tools, a Canadian company. Makers of high quality non-powered tools since 1895. I’ve collected several over the years, eh? Get yours at PRINCESS AUTO.
So ideally you have gas and or electric chainsaws. But if all you have is a Reciprocating Saw you can pick up some of these handy ‘Cip Saw pruning blades
So OK So the first thing I like to do is clear the trunk and make it look like a tree again. Get rid of all these little “eye-pokers” here.

Basic pruning jump cut

So, when you’re dropping limbs – if they’ve got some weight to them and they aren’t going to get hung up on anything you can use DROP CUTS where the butt falls first or JUMP CUTS where the brush falls first.

Good cuts – Bad cuts (you know I’ve had my share)

A good cut goes all the way to the origin of the branch but it leaves behind the branch bark collar.
Now here’s a good mid-branch cut healing nicely at the lateral growth. And… Well, here’s a bad cut with a big stub spreading rot and decay into the limb.
If you have to make your cut mid-branch, try to make it close to a lateral growth.
Deadwood is pretty easy to spot but if you’re not sure just pull on it or whack at it with your pole. If it’s dead it’ll break and fall off.
You want to remove broken limbs and hangers for the tree’s health, aesthetics and to avoid it coming down on someone.

Basic pruning interfering growth

Interfering growth is when two or more limbs come in hard contact with each other – or in this case with my carport.
Trees have a variety of natural shapes like globe, egg, bee hive, umbrella, upside down umbrella, upside down heart and even rocket ship. What you want to do is improve the tree’s natural shape by eliminating low droopy limbs and high reaching branches or suckers.

Basic pruning girdling roots

Ground work

A girdling root wraps around the base of the trunk and potentially can cut off the flow of water and nutrients. Dig them out with a shovel and an axe.
Stack your brush so the butts line up together to facilitate loading or chipping.
Make sure you do a good cleanup. Most people don’t know good tree work from bad but everyone knows a good cleanup when they see one.
Whaa. Woof! Woof!

Basic pruning conifers
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