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Pruning: More than Making Cuts

HANDS pruning

There are many online and print resources for pruning  - however most of these don't address times to prune or methods of pruning for Marin's Mediterranean climate, nor focus on plants that Marin gardeners typically grow. Learn the why, when, and how to prune trees, shrubs, vines, natives, and other flowering plants that are commonly grown here in Marin County.

IMPORTANT: IF YOU ARE PRUNING FOR THE FIRST TIME:

Before proceeding, we highly recommend that you: 
1. Educate yourself on pruning fundamentals
2. Learn the various pruning cuts
3. Make sure you have the proper tools for pruning
4. Then, familiarize yourself on the types and growth, flowering and fruiting habits of the plants you are planning on pruning, whether they are flowering trees and shrubs, fruit trees or native plants.


What is pruning and why do it?

Pruning is the removal of entire branches or portions of branches for a purpose. However, pruning could more accurately be called wounding for a purpose because pruning cuts do not truly heal by regenerating identical replacement tissue. Instead, pruning cuts seal, and sometimes poorly. Therefore, it is important to know why, when, how, and what to prune before making the first cut. 

Proper pruning serves one or more desirable aesthetic and practical objectives: 
• Increasing the yield of flowers and fruit
• Increasing plant vigor 
• Controlling plant size 
• Creating privacy
• Shaping a plant for a particular look or location
• Correcting structural problems 
• Rejuvenating a plant 

There is no one way to prune each type of plant

Some gardeners prefer immaculate trees and shrubs in their gardens. Others prefer a less formal look. This section focuses on basic pruning techniques for maintaining the health of a plant and for accentuating its key attributes, such as its leaves, bark, branch structure, flowers, fruit, or other desirable characteristics. It does not address shaping with motor-driven tools.