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touhey33
03-12-2005, 06:51 PM
Just wanted to know how many of you prune, and how you learned or if you learned how to prune. I know it is no as simple as cutting back the plant, you have to learn about all different kinds of plants and trees, and the correct way to prune them.

Precision
03-12-2005, 07:31 PM
Pruning some plants is a very intricate procedure. Roses for example

Most shrubs and hedges just need to be maintained and cut with a sharp instrument.

Bottom line is get a few books and find out the types of plants that are sensitive and stay away from them until you know what you are doing. But most hedges aren't likely to be hurt, more likely that you will cut slopes or odd shapes that make them look wierd.

LB1234
03-12-2005, 09:32 PM
Just wanted to know how many of you prune, and how you learned or if you learned how to prune. I know it is no as simple as cutting back the plant, you have to learn about all different kinds of plants and trees, and the correct way to prune them.


Correct, you need to get a good book and know what plant you are pruning. In the event you don't know...take sample of it to your nursery and have them identify it. Then either ask them or look it up yourself.

Critical Care
03-12-2005, 10:28 PM
There are some very good books out there that will tell you how and when to prune specific plants. General pruning techniques can be found quite easily, but you're right, you need to know the type of pruning each plant wants, and when to prune as well. For example, many shrubs can be pruned back all the way down to the ground in late fall, others you selectively thin out, some you can shear, and yet others you "head back". Its best to know what you're doing before you start cutting away at something.

Check with your local extension service for the basic info on pruning. When I worked with them they had some good info on pruning.

The Sunset Western Garden Book is almost the bible for plant info. It isn't specifically a pruning book but does tell you how to prune different plants, and does have a section on pruning techniques. This would be a great book to have.

Evergreenpros
03-13-2005, 05:31 AM
Just wanted to know how many of you prune, and how you learned or if you learned how to prune. I know it is no as simple as cutting back the plant, you have to learn about all different kinds of plants and trees, and the correct way to prune them.


Fortuneately, most people who have complete service that includes spring pruning don't know much about it. That's where we come in!! There's some basic rules to pruning.

1. When in doubt make it round.
2. If it looks dead and feels dead, it's probably dead so cut it.
3. Generally, branches growing up = Good, branches growning down = Bad
4. If you see a joint or some knob cut above it.
5. If you think you should take off 1 foot of growth but aren't sure, take off 6" and call it good. see #1
6. Don't use any cutting device with an engine, motor, or any other type of power assist unless you REALLY know what you're doing.
7. When you're done, always ask the customer "how's it look? I can take your "blah blah" down a bit more if you like. If they say yes they won't blame you if it dies, if they say no then it's a done deal. Make sure you know at least a couple plant names to make the conversation flow.

Most pruning is a no brainer. It's usually grossly obvious what is recent growth and what isn't. Books are great and they are a tool but you just have to take the plunge and get started. Most customers are just looking for that "maintained" appearance. If you get a customer who knows the genus and species of every plant in the yard along with the price they paid, I'd pass on that job.

mcclureandson
03-13-2005, 02:21 PM
Pruning is like anything else in this business...it looks simple so it must be so, right? Get a book, or better yet get four or five and focus on the plants most commonly seen in your area/zone. Improper pruning can destroy a plant. Proper pruning encourages new growth (in desired direction/mass), improves appearance, minimizes insect damage, fungus infestations and much, much more...Nearly every house on my maintenance schedule has half a dozen different types of shrubs, some need cutting back in the fall, others a light snip in the spring and so on...pruning hap-hazardly is always a mistake.

specialtylc
03-13-2005, 05:57 PM
I was raised on an orchard so I already knew how to prune trees when I started in grounds maintenance. As for shrubs and bushes it has been a on the job training , learn as I went.

newbomb
03-13-2005, 06:33 PM
The best book I have found I got at Home depot. It is Ortho books " All about Pruning". It is a 100 or so, page soft cover book that explains literally all about pruning. Any good hardware or home center should have it and it really covers everything. It is A great place to start. It is put out by Chevron Chemical Co the ISBN number is 0-89721-198-7 if you have to get it from Barnes and Noble or the like. Get this one first it tells whe n to prune, how to prune and Identifies a lot of plants. Learn this one and your gold.

afford a bill
03-13-2005, 11:55 PM
I would say "specialtylc" will concur, pruning of fruit trees is different then shade trees. if you do not know how to prune them leave them alone... or go to your local extension office and get a pruning guide..
I too had a commercial Orchard but do not spray trees for others!

Neal Wolbert
03-14-2005, 12:56 AM
Think of a plumber or electrician saying "golly, I really don't know what do for sure so I'll just do what I think is right..and then I'll ask my customer if he thinks it right and if you both agree it must be right"? Then when the lights don't work right and the pipes leak, guess who the customer blames? Of course, the "pro" even though the customer "approved" the work. I think we should know the right way to do anything we hire out to do or sub someone in who does and work with them to learn how they do it. If you learn the right way to prune through study and hands-on experience with a certified arborist you will know the basic principles and do good work. ISA has good study materials on their website, www.treesaregood.com. Cass Turnbull in Seattle has a good website on malpruning at www.plantamnesty.com, very informative and, unfortunately, way too true. Neal

Grassmechanic
03-14-2005, 07:25 AM
The practice that really burns me up is when the lco's come in and prune all the shrubs/bushes in the landscape all at the same time with hedge trimmers!! That is a first clue that they do not know what they are doing. The morons around me "prune" spring flowering shrubs in August and shape them either round or square with hedgetrimmers. When are these bozos going to realize hedge trimmers are for HEDGES. Correct pruning requires the use of hand pruners. Learn to do it right or leave it for me.

afford a bill
03-14-2005, 09:03 AM
a plumber is Not an roofer,or a cook, or mail carrier... its not the same pruning a fruit tree and a shade tree.....I have seen so many screw ups of people thinking shade tree when pruning fruit trees... it takes a person time with a fruit grower [commercial grower] to learn the proper pruning of fruit trees... been there 40 years... :cool2:

old dog
03-14-2005, 05:23 PM
Correct, you need to get a good book and know what plant you are pruning. In the event you don't know...take sample of it to your nursery and have them identify it. Then either ask them or look it up yourself.
I take all my employees to the nearest co-op extension agency for some
good basic training.Then onto books and field training.After you observe how
plants respond to different methods,it gets easier.In other words,20 years from now you will still be learning!

TURFLORD
03-15-2005, 08:55 AM
It's nice to read of other professionals who know about pruning. In my area there are companies that throw a bunch of power shears on the truck and hit everything that grows. Azaleas, alberta spruce, biota, nothing is safe. Weeping Japanese maples to 30' maples all succumb to "crimes against nature" as i like to call it. I have to say that I do believe shearing as well, has it's proper time and place. I like to use a mixture of both. But, unfortunately, if the customers want it a certain way thats what I'll do.

LB1234
03-15-2005, 09:56 AM
The practice that really burns me up is when the lco's come in and prune all the shrubs/bushes in the landscape all at the same time with hedge trimmers!! That is a first clue that they do not know what they are doing. The morons around me "prune" spring flowering shrubs in August and shape them either round or square with hedgetrimmers. When are these bozos going to realize hedge trimmers are for HEDGES. Correct pruning requires the use of hand pruners. Learn to do it right or leave it for me.

LOL, reminds me of a funeral home I do.

Manager comes out and sees me with hand pruners. I was selectively pruning a weeping cherry...thinning it out. He asks, "What are you doing?" I replied, "You asked me to clean up the appearance of the tree, that's what I'm doing." I then said, "Am I doing something wrong?" Manager replies, "No, its just that our old guy did it with a gas powered trimmer." I just said, "I'm NOT the 'old' guy."

old dog
03-16-2005, 09:30 PM
It's nice to read of other professionals who know about pruning. In my area there are companies that throw a bunch of power shears on the truck and hit everything that grows. Azaleas, alberta spruce, biota, nothing is safe. Weeping Japanese maples to 30' maples all succumb to "crimes against nature" as i like to call it. I have to say that I do believe shearing as well, has it's proper time and place. I like to use a mixture of both. But, unfortunately, if the customers want it a certain way thats what I'll do.
Pretty much where we are at,although 2 years ago my left shoulder started bothering me a lot when I prune or shear neck high-that mean I am too old?
I hate seeing treetrimmeras stub off trees,why don't they just cut 'em down?
I started 40 years ago when my grandad showed me the ropes on fruit trees.
I have found some people "get" pruning and some never will.They just
want spheres,squares,and cones-I like doing that to the proper plants too!
I have douglas firs I planted 22 years ago I am shearing yet,but they are getting about 20" high and difficult to deal with now.Unless there is a dead branch I don't want to touch Alberta Spruce-cause they just naturally look
goodIMO