Resources to Help You Master Pruning

Pruning can definitely be one of the more intimidating gardening tasks, especially since many homeowners fear that if they do it wrong they'll kill their plants.  The good news is that plants share similar characteristics, and if you understand some basics about how they grow and when they bloom, you'll get a good sense of how to prune almost all of them.  

Below you'll find videos that explain basic pruning techniques, and also how to prune specific plants to get the best results!

Basic Pruning Technique

Video by Doug Green. Doug's other videos are here.

There are some basic pruning technques that apply to almost any plant, and if you understand what they are, and how they impact the plant's growth, you're golden! In this video, Doug Green takes you step by step through the thinning cut and the heading cut, and how they shape your plants.



Pruning Larger Tree Branches


Did you know that trees and shrubs undergo a healing process after they're pruned? This video, by Land Designs Unlimited, starts with an example of healing after good pruning technique, versus when the branch was removed via natural means (or poor pruning). Then there's an excellent demonstration of the 3 cut method, which is the best way to remove heavier branches from trees and large shrubs.


Pruning Spring Flowering Shrubs

Video by the RHS

Shrubs that flower in early spring (March, April, and May) should be pruned right after they're done flowering.  This gives them enough time to grow new leaves and stems, as well as flower buds! The Royal Horticulture Society shows you how to prune one early bloomer, forsythia, but the techniques apply to almost any shrub that flowers early.  


Pruning Boxwoods for a Natural Look

Video by Essortment. Expert: Mark Viette Contact: 

I often see boxwoods sheared into tight, geometric shapes, because it's a style that many people think is very attractive. The problem with this technique is that it can lead to disease and even kill the plant!  An alternative is to prune with the natural growth habit of the plant in mind.  In this video, Mark Viette offers some tips on how to do that, and shows you what a naturally pruned boxwood looks like.


Pruning Roses

Video by Paul Zimmerman Roses

Some instructions about rose pruning can get really, really complicated! Fortunately, Paul Zimmerman keeps it simple and helps you understand how to prune based on how the rose is growing, how you want it to bloom, and how tall you want them to get.  There's also an overview of tools and proper pruning technique.



Pruning Basil

Video by LK Landscape Design

Did you know that you can prune many types of herbs too?  In this video, I show you how to prune basil so you can create a larger, bushier plant.  And that's a great thing, because it means more delicious basil leaves! 



Have any pruning related fears or concerns? Share them in the comments!

Linda KelsoComment