The Basics to Pruning

What is Pruning

Pruning is a method used by gardeners to trim back plants in the aim of stimulating more positive growth. It can also be used to keep plants in restricted to the areas you want and keep them from overgrowing into other areas.

Tools for Pruning

Before you set to the task of pruning your garden, you should ensure you have the correct tools to complete the task. To do this, you should prepare with a pair of sequeters, a pair of bypass shears, a pruning saw and a pair of gloves.

Basics to Pruning

When making a cut, cut just above the bud with a few millimetres of stem remaining.

If the plant has multiple stems, cut them at the same height to incentivise the stems to grow back in the same way. If you only want one of the stems to grow, the the other stem at an angle.

Plants naturally produce dead material over time and this hampers their ability to grow. Cut away dead wood at the base of the plant and you should see new growth in these areas in the future.

One some plants with multiple stems, the stems will be growing close together. When stems rub together, it can damage the bark and make disease more likely. Cut away one of the stems to prevent future problems at this part of the plant.

Flowering stems will use up a lot of energy producing seeds. You can help other parts of the plant to grow by cutting flowering stems down to the ground level.

Types of Pruning

There are different types of pruning which can be used depending on the extent of the work that needs to be done on the plant.

Besides standard pruning, there are the more intense pruning methods of Thinning and Heading.

Thinning is a method which removes excessive or old growth by cutting an entire shoot from its point of origin.

Heading, otherwise known as topping or stubbing is a more aggressive form of pruning. involves cutting the shoot back to the bud.

How Pruning Varies

Pruning should be done at different parts of the year depending on the type of plant. Woody plants should be cut in the dormant season while herbaceous plants would be done at the end of the growing season.

Hedges are usually cut for cosmetic reasons and large trees can often be cut to prevent them obstructing roads and infrastructure.


Pruning seems like a simple task at first but as this brief introduction shows it is a broad and complex subject. Correctly pruning your garden can require quite a lot of research and planning if you are going to do it right.

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