Correct pruning is an essential maintenance practice for ornamental trees.
Ornamental trees here in Mid-Michigan include but are not limited to:
- Japanese Maples
- Ornamental Pears.
Trees should be examined annually for pruning requirements. Too often pruning is ignored for several years. Then some trees become overgrown
and often weak, making drastic pruning a necessity to bring the plant back to usefulness. Regular pruning will help keep the plant in bounds and keep its growth vigorous.
Reasons to Prune
- Maintain or reduce overall plant size: pruning can prevent a ornamental tree from overgrowing it’s space.
- Remove undesirable growth: pruning can encourage plant vigor though the removal of week, overcrowded growth
- Remove dead, diseased or broken branches: pruning will aid in maintaining the shape, vigor and health of the plant
- Stimulate flowering or fruiting: removal of current years old, faded flowers and fruit clusters will promote flower buds for the coming season
- Rejuvenate and restore old plants to vigorous growth: proper pruning can restore a youthful, natural growth habit in certain overgrown ornamental trees
Myths & Misconceptions About Pruning
- Pruning is difficult: pruning is straightforward if one knows a little about how the plant grows and what it should look like when the process is complete
- Plants will die if pruned at the wrong time of year: plant s may be injured or may not bloom, but seldom if ever are they killed by poorly timed pruning
- All cut surfaces must be treated with tree paint/sealer: While long recommended, the evidence is conflicting on the use of tree paint. Only used for cosmetic purposes, it is best to let the tree heal naturally
Timing for Pruning: Late Fall through Mid-Winter is best
- Better Visibility: no leaves means you can see the structure of the tree better, thus resulting in better pruning results
- No Bleeding: heavy sap flow can occur in spring, if cuts are made, then the tree will ‘bleed’. This doesn’t hurt the tree
but can hurt the trees appearance
- Pruning to Maximize Fruit & Flower Display: pruning stimulates a flush of re-growth, thus a properly timed prune will
result in more fruiting and flowering
- Pruning in Anticipation of Growth: In general, the best time to prune is when the plant will recover the fastest, which is
typically during the spring ‘growth spurt’, so prune during the late fall or winter