People often ask what the Wickham Park staff does in the winter time to care for the Connecticut woodlands and gardens found throughout the grounds. One of the many tasks that are performed is the pruning of trees and shrubs. While it is typically best to prune flowering plants shortly after they have bloomed in the spring, we are usually too busy with other Wickham Park activities to do so. Which is quote all right. As a professor teaching a pruning class once said, “the best time to prune is when you have the time to prune.”
One of the easiest and most obvious ways to begin is to look for dead limbs or branches and remove them first. Another important aspect of pruning is the overall shape to the tree or shrub. Consider what the shape should be and correct overgrown plants by pruning back or lifting the lower branches. Remember that while hedging trees or shrubs has its place in the garden landscape, most plants should be pruned to follow their natural shape which may be rounded, conical or layered.
Look for branches that are crossing each other and rubbing – the rubbing action will remove the outer bark and eventually kill both of the limbs. Remove the branch that shows significantly more damage than the other. If that isn't an option, leave the branch that is showing the best growth out and away from the main trunk.
Many plants require the removal of water sprouts or suckers on a routine basis as part of their upkeep. Thinning a plant to prevent future crossing or rubbing branches is also a good idea.
The most important thing to do is to step back and visualize what the plant will look like before you cut off the branch you are thinking about removing. There is no gluing them back on, after all! It is also a good idea to step back repeatedly to see the effects of what you are removing as part of the big picture.
A good pruning job is said to be when someone would look at your finished work and not know that you had done anything at all. For more pruning and upkeep advice from the expert park and garden staff of Wickham Park, simply visit the website or call (860) 528-0856.