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Pruning is an aspect of gardening that can only be ignored for a short time.
The purpose of this course is to provide the basic techniques that will instill the confidence to pick up the scissors and start cutting.
It is important to investigate the aspect of pruning based on the support of natural tendencies of plants. The concepts expressed are valid for pruning related to gardening and the hobby of fruit and vegetable cultivation.
Given that in nature there is no voluntary pruning, but only an involuntary based on natural events, such as the wind that can break branches or animals that can feed on shoots.
Therefore? What is the real reason why plants need to be pruned
In light of the above, the plants are pruned based on three objectives:
1. Give the plant the desired shape
2. Contain the dimensions
3. Improve and increase the production of fruits or flowers.
There are various types of pruning; we summarize the main ones
- production pruning: when the purpose is to stimulate the plant to produce the greatest amount of flowers or fruits. In some cases, qualitatively speaking, the goal is to improve fruit size;
- breeding pruning: when the final purpose is to give a particular shape to the plant;
- containment pruning: the goal is to contain the size of the plant;
- trimming: when the only necessary action is the simple cleaning of the smaller branches;
- rejuvenation: when we want to eliminate almost completely all the old branches of the plant, allowing the general rebirth of the branches;
- maintenance: it is the pruning that is carried out mostly on some hedge shrubs to always maintain the same shape.
The system that will be explained in this course is simple, with few rules and easy to understand, suitable for the amateur gardener and the family farmer.
We will give the plant a regular shape and as natural as possible, without going to obstruct or limit the sap that flows inside the branches, facilitating air circulation and the penetration of light into the foliage.
Before starting any pruning work it is good to understand which goal you want to achieve.
It is necessary to have suitable equipment available so as not to cause damage to the plants, as in some cases it is important that the cuts are clean and precise; a good equipment also allows an easy and fast carrying out of the practice.
Remember that pruning a plant could mean damaging it and slowing its development.
We will analyze a natural system that indicates the removal of complete branches, avoiding the cut in half branch. The cut must be made at the point where there is a bifurcation, it will be clean and parallel to the surface of the remaining branch. Stumps that could cause problems for the plant and its development should be avoided in the most absolute way.
We will begin to remove the branches according to the following ladder:
1. dry or broken branches;
2. the branches that grow oriented towards the inside of the plant;
3. the internal vertical sprouts;
4. the branches that cross each other or continue parallel to the same destination.
It will be important to keep the symmetry of the foliage under control, so as not to have imbalances that can ruin the plant.
Another important notion is that of the return cut, usable in the case in which it is desired to favor the growth of a shorter branch at the expense of a longer one.
Cut the branch that you would like to shorten to the level of the lower branch, so that it replaces it in its apical function.
The one described above is an excellent system that does not interrupt the regular flow of the sap, avoiding the emission of recollections in the cutting area, decreasing further pruning interventions in the following years.
This system is adaptable to all fruit plants and many of the ornamental shrubs or trees.
To achieve excellent pruning the cut that is made is very important.
Pruning shears, saws or loppers should be used.
The most important feature is that the cut must be clean, without smudging and leave smooth and compact surfaces. The tools used must be precise and always well sharpened, unclear cuts or with a rough surface allow the establishment of microorganisms, which can penetrate inside the trunk, creating serious and sometimes irreparable damage to the plant.
For greater safety it is recommended to disinfect the surfaces resulting from the cut by applying 5% copper sulphate or using propolis tincture and cover them with synthetic bark. There are products on the market that disinfect and seal the cut with just one operation, as they contain antifungal products.
Synthetic barks should be applied using a brush; they can be applied on the natural wounds of the plant, preserving it from the attack of bacteria, as well as cutting the pruning.
Flowering and fruiting characteristics of plants
The large family of plants that bloom on the branch of the year, such as vines, roses, wisteria, blackberry and hibiscus,
they have a pruning that must be performed in two distinct phases. In the first phase the excess branches are eliminated as reported in the previous paragraph, while in the second phase the branches emitted in the previous year are shortened, cutting them over a bud facing outwards.
The cut never sees being too close to the buds, always leaving 3-4 mm of branch above the bud itself.
Pruning course: Pruning tools
In this last paragraph, but of primary importance, we will evaluate which are the most suitable equipment for pruning. It is advisable to always purchase equipment of known brands in order to have spare parts in the future and a guaranteed safety on the quality of the cuts and work performed.
The main tools used for pruning are:
- the loppers
- manual shears
- the curved saw
- pruning shears
- the hacksaw
- the tow stand
- scissors with telescopic handle
Finally, remember to use synthetic bark or putty to be laid on the cut by using a brush or a spatula