The time for planting has passed, at least for the next few weeks. And  while winter is a restive time in the garden, there is one chore that is particularly suited to the milder days that crop up now and again. Pruning your woody plants!

Benefits of pruning:

  • Removing dead or diseased branches  as well as crossing branches (that will eventually harm themselves by rubbing) is good for the health of the plant
  • Thinning will increase light and airflow leading to a stronger structure and increased disease resistance.
  • Increased fruit/flower production
  • Improving the overall good look of your plant

What are the basic tools you need to get started? A good pair of bypass pruning shears are essential and loppers are useful for thicker branches. Hedge shears, as the name implies, may be used for trimming formal hedges, and hand saws will be needed for cutting larger branches (anything over a 1″ diameter).  Felco makes excellent quality tools that will last, and Fiskar tools are a  reasonable, lower price alternative.

For the novice pruner, coming up next is a pruner primer.