Eight foot snow banks! Icicles and Ice dams! Double digit windchills ! OH MY! All these may have had an impact on your trees and shrubs, which is why I have chosen Pruning 101 as my first post. The objective of spring pruning trees and shrubs is give the plants as much energy as possible to recover from the winter by get rid of any dead, dying, diseased and also any broken branches. This post covers the basics in order to familiarize you with terms, tools and practices. The purpose of pruning plants is not only to keep the plant looking it's best (and in the particular style you chose), but to maintain vigorous health and protect them from pest and diseases.
Tools: Use bypass pruners (pictured), the packaging tells you what size branch the tool is made for. For branches that are beyond about one inch in diameter you will want to use a larger tool called a lopper. Lastly a small pruning saw is not just great for larger branches, but may be a better tools for some tight places.
Techniques: We want to make a clean cut. A proper cut to allows the plant to heal quickly and correctly. We do not want to create an entryway for pests or disease. Chose a lateral branch or if needed back to the trunk. Make the cut just outside the collar, this is a bump or ring at the base of the branch or twig, It is important not to leave a stub, as the stub can create an entryway for pests.
What to prune: You can think of spring pruning like triage. We are looking for the following: dead, dying, diseased or broken branches. We want to get rid of the 3 D's in order to use it's energy to put on new healthy growth in the coming season.