Pruning bushes and trees in your yard has a few benefits. It improves the plant’s health, helps you control growth, reduces potential hazards, and it allows you to train the plant to your desired form. Pruning also promotes air circulation and allows foliage to dry faster, which keeps diseases at bay.
What tools are best for the job, and when should you cut your trees and shrubs back in Maryland? We’re glad you asked.
The Best Tree and Shrub Pruning Tools
The size of the job will determine which tools work best. Pruning shears typically work great for branches that are ½ inch in diameter or smaller. But if you have branches up to 2 inches thick, lopping shears are better suited for the job.
If you have tall trees or bushes, pole pruners allow you to get the hard-to-reach limbs, though they come with a learning curve and can be dangerous if you aren’t familiar with them. A pruning saw is the best choice for more significant limbs and comes in several blade shapes.
For the largest jobs, a chain saw will work best, but be sure to use safety glasses and wear protective clothing while using it. This will also be the go-to tool if you have to remove a tree or bush from your yard.
When Should I Cut My Trees and Bushes Back?
The best time of year to cut back your trees and bushes in Maryland depends on the type of plant you have. Generally, early spring is the best time to prune. Waiting until fall could inhibit new growth because the plant doesn’t have time to harden off before the cold winter comes.
You can lightly prune evergreens and holly for holiday decorations in the winter without causing harm to the tree. However, major pruning jobs should wait until early spring to provide the best chance at growth and hardiness for future years.
You should prune early spring flowering bushes and trees after they flower. This includes the eastern redbud, dogwood, rhododendron, lilacs, and serviceberry shrubs.
Plants that flower in summer or fall should be pruned during winter or before new growth starts in the spring. This includes the rose of Sharon, rose shrubs, and beautyberry.
Do your pruning on ornamental fruit trees like cotoneasters, pyracantha, and viburnums after their fruit falls from the plant.
Avoid These Pruning Mistakes
We all make mistakes, but pruning mistakes can cause your shrubs and trees to die prematurely. Avoiding these pruning mistakes will promote growth and allow your Maryland landscape to thrive:
- Don’t paint the cut before pruning
- Cut at the bud, branch, or main trunk instead of the middle of the branch
- Sanitize equipment between each shrub and tree
- Call the utility company to prune shrubs and trees touching power or utility lines instead of doing it yourself
- Don’t cut flush with the trunk
- Limit pruning to no more than 25% of the leaf surface per year
Call the Shrub and Tree Pruning Professionals
Nervous about pruning your shrubs and trees properly? Why do the work yourself when you don’t have to? Give the 410LAWNGUY a call today at 410-529-6489, or contact us online to schedule a free consultation!