Updated: Dec 15, 2020
Do you wonder when, why and how to prune? This subject was something that kind of stressed me out when I first started gardening so I thought I would do a posting on this topic for the newbie or newer gardeners. So please bear with me all of you long time experts!
Below are the top reasons to prune and a little how to description.
1) Deadhead flowers to remove spent growth during the flowering season.
As flowering plants bloom, you may need to remove spent buds to help encourage new flowers and a stronger overall plant. Also it helps the plants overall appearance .
To deadhead a flowering plant, you want to cut the branch or stem off at a 45-degree angle, just above a new bud or pair of true leaves.
-Plants that grow aggressively or that produce a lot of flowers may need to be deadheaded more frequently. Try to deadhead flowering plants when there are at least a handful of fading flowers to trim.
-Not all flowers need to be deadheaded. Some self-seeding plants such as columbines and poppies do best if you let their blooms grow and fade naturally.
2) Cut back plants to encourage new growth.
Cutting back is an extreme form of pruning that helps encourage new growth and improve a plant’s overall appearance.
Use hedging shears to trim the plants down to about 1/3 - 1/2 the size, depending on type.
-Cutting back should only be done after a plant has flowered.
-After a flowering plant has been cut back, it may need a little more attention. The plant needs to be well-watered, and the soil surrounding it should be amended.
3) Pinch flowers in between annual trims to encourage healthy growth.
Pinching removes the growing tips and first set of leaves as a plant starts to grow.
Use your fingernails to pinch a stem just above the node. Pinching right before a flower blooms will help keep it from getting too heavy or floppy and extend the bloom time.
-Pinching can be done with garden shears. For many plants, though, you can also pinch stems with your fingers by using your nails to cut through the new growth.
-Pinching also helps produce branching growth and flowering stems
This picture shows pruning of a Salvia plant that was almost done with its first big bloom. Pruning out the dead flowers help to promote another set of blooms.
After pruning out the dead, the flower looks much prettier & healthier.
4) Annual cut back.
Most flowering plants need to be cut back once a year. The time of year you need to prune will depend on when your plants flower. Common flowering patterns for plants are:
Spring. Plants that flower in the spring should be pruned immediately after the blooms wilt and the flowers fade.
Summer. Summer-flowering plants should be pruned in the late winter or early spring to allow some time for new growth before the plant starts blooming again.
Evergreens. Evergreens like to be trimmed once during the spring before new growth starts. If you have the time, it’s ideal to prune them in the late autumn or early winter as well.
Annuals. Annuals will need to be trimmed as they are blooming to remove deadheads and encourage new growth
AND, just remember, gardening is not meant to be stressful. Don't worry if you don't get to the deadheading every week, or even every other week. There have been seasons in my life that I honestly don't think I had time all summer to deadhead and take care of my plants... But I think taking care of my babies was much more important and the plants still survived and provided me with happiness as I looked out the window from my rocking chair. That is the beauty of gardening.... The plants just want to survive and usually will even without your dedicated TLC.
My top two gardening rules...
If you are not killing plants, you are not truly growing as a gardener!
When in doubt... GOOGLE!
Also I might add... I will eventually have more postings on the home and other topics... In my little world I think summer time was made for gardening. So that's all for now!