Pruning Grapes

Established grape vines usually consist of a major trunk with several older, dark colored vines extending outward on a trellis or arbor. After several years, the older vines may become too numerous and some of them may need to removed clear back where they are connected to the main trunk.
Lighter colored vines extend from the [...]

Types of Pruning Cuts

Re-Growth Resulting From Different Types of Pruning Cuts
This is by far the most important principle I have learned from pruning thousands of plants. You can prune any plant using this principle. It addresses the most important question: What do I want this plant to look like after it regrows following pruning? There are 3 [...]

How to Prune Lilacs

Lilacs grow so vigorously in the Pacific Northwest that they eventually become trees instead of shrubs. June is the time to prune lilacs. If you would like to turn your lilac back into a shrub, this is how to do it. There are 3 ways to accomplish it.
The drastic one year approach
Prune all [...]

How to Prune Roses

January and February are the favorite months for pruning roses, although I sometimes prune mine in November or December.  I expect to see buds breaking by late February. Except for climbers and tree or standard roses, pruning is quite simple. Pick the height you would like plants to start at and prune all branches down [...]

How to Prune (and not prune) Large Trees

Large trees growing near homes and other structures can be dangerous during windy weather, especially if they have wounds, rot or weak branch connections. However, far too many healthy large trees are damaged by incorrect pruning. Simply reducing the height of a large tree does not necessarily make it safer. In fact, improper pruning can [...]

Hedge Pruning

Late summer is a good time to prune hedges after they have made most of their growth. Hedges are generally sheared because we want them to grow thickly and have geometrical shape. It is important to prune upper shoots more than lower ones. Not only do they grow faster, but if the top of a [...]

Restoring Sheared Shrubs

Question: We recently moved into a home with established trees and shrubs. We love the landscape, but do not like the way the shrubs have been pruned. The previous owner used a power clipper to prune the shrubs. Their shapes are artificially thick and round or flat on top. Can they be pruned to give [...]

Is It Always Wrong to Shear Plants?

One of my readers emailed me to get an estimate on hedge pruning. She included this comment in her email: “You seemed very adamant that one should not sculpt [shear] their evergreens and trees.  My husband has done this with quite a lot of plants and is probably not going to take kindly to harsh [...]

Pruning Shade Trees

The ideal form for most large shade trees is a single central leader or trunk with scaffold branches spaced at intervals vertically and radially around the trunk. Once the tree has reached sufficient size, all branches below a height of 6 or 7 feet are removed to allow easy walking under the branches. Some small [...]

Why is Tree Topping Bad?

According to the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), “topping is the indiscriminate cutting back of tree branches to stubs or lateral branches that are not large enough to assume the terminal role.” Other names for topping include ‘heading,’ ‘tipping,’ ‘hat-racking,’ and ’rounding over’.” Topping violates nationally accepted standards for proper pruning and seriously injures trees.”

  Topping [...]

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