PLANT SURGERY – When to Prune and How? Types of Cuts with Concepts

In this Article we will learn some useful methods and concepts on pruning thats trimming your plants for better growth and flowering. We will learn useful topics like when and how to prune a plant, Types of Pruning like Hard and Soft Pruning and Types of pruning cuts and lastly which Pruning Tools to choose.

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Pruning means cutting or trimming the plant organs like branches, stems or even leaves for the sake of your plants health and sometimes to maintain plant shape and form. It is a very important task in gardening specially if you want your plants to perform well like to promote growth and flowering or fruiting.  Another advantage of pruning is it allows you to remove the damaged or infected branches and leaves which can further spread and cause more damage.

In this Article, we will precisely look into many questions about plant pruning like:

a)      When to prune which plants.

b)      Types of Pruning

c)       How to Prune and Why?

d)      Pruning Tools

e)      And many other concepts and tips on pruning.



Before we proceed with these topics, first of all its important to know that pruning or cutting is actually wounding your plant. So doing it properly is really important.  Pruning is actually a Plant Surgery similar to human or animal surgery, done either to save a plant from disease and also to make it look neat and good. Like the surgical wound, pruning also induces a wound or injury at the point of incision and this wound has to heal properly.
So Lets begin:

1.       When to prune which plants? Let me start with a comparison. The best time to perform a surgery on a person is when they are in sleep, that’s during anaesthesia. This is the same for plants as well. As a general rule for most plants including flowering and fruiting plants they need to be pruned, specially hard pruning to be done while they are in a period of dormancy (that’s when they are asleep or inactive).   This usually falls in late winter through early spring like in the month of January depending on your climatic zone. Another reason to perform this surgery in winter is the healing of wound is better in this cold season due to scientific reasons.

But some other plants need to be continuously pruned or trimmed I mean deadheaded or soft pruned, to maintain growth and flowering. We shall discuss this shortly.

Also remember to disinfect the cutting tools before your start snipping your plants. You can wipe the blades with any household disinfectant or you can also use hydrogen peroxide 3 or 6 percent and this is easily available at your local medical store.

2.       Types of Pruning for house plants?
 Here we will learn Hard Pruning, Soft Pruning, Rejuvenation Pruning, Dead Heading and many other useful tips.

First we will start with:

Hard Pruning and Soft Pruning:
Hard pruning or Annual Pruning as I discussed earlier is done in the dormant or inactive growth period of a plant during the late winter or early spring. In hard pruning, we cut off most of the plant stems and branches, atleast 50 percent to promote all new productive plant growth in the growing season.

Where as Soft Pruning can be performed any time of the year. Here we just trim the plant to onethird to half, the best example is pruning roses. This also includes dead heading. Deadheading means removal of dead or dried flowers from a plant which has just flowered. Sometimes it has to be a constant process and this diverts the plant energy into new growth and more flowering rather than drying up and  consuming this energy into the seed formation process.

3.          How to Prune? And Types of Pruning Cuts?


We will learn two important cuts here: Heading and Thinning Cuts:


Heading is the process of cutting or trimming branch tips, The cut is made anywhere on the branch or stem just half an inch above a node where it produces multiple branching usually two branches and this process makes your plant more bushy in the long run.One very important tip here:The cut is to be made at an angle of 45 degrees to allow water to run off. Because if a flat cut is made, water can stay on top of the wound which increases the chances of fungal or bacterial infection. Its also a good idea to Seal the wound with some stuff like wax or an antifungal powder or anything – even some recommend fevicol paste. If you can buy a tree paint or any commercially available pruning sealer, that’s still better. Some experts say its better to leave it open and let the plant heal itself specially for larger trees.

Thinning is the process of removing entire branches from a main stem by making a cut at its collar or just outside of the collar. Collar is the area where the branch connects with its main stem. Thinning helps sunlight to penetrate to interior foliage and promotes good air circulation and thus avoids fungus and bacterial growth.

If you are not sure how to and when to prune a particular plant, I still suggest you to atleast perform soft pruning atleast once in its growth cycle.

Regarding Choosing the right Pruning Tools, You can check that HERE.



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