• Document: Pruning Landscape Trees and Shrubs 1
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Circular 853 Pruning Landscape Trees and Shrubs1 Edward F. Gilman and Robert J. Black2 Pruning is the selective removal of plant parts, shrubs are selected as foundation plants, since this typically shoots and branches, to improve health, plant can quickly grow to 25-30’ tall. Utilizing a low- control growth or enhance fruiting, flowering or growing juniper, Wheeler’s Dwarf pittosporum, indian appearance. Pruning should be a routine part of hawthorn or other compact shrub in such a location home-ground maintenance and not delayed until the would greatly reduce or eliminate required pruning. landscape is overgrown. Overgrown plants can be tall It is less time consuming and less costly to select and and leggy with little foliage close to the ground, and install the proper sized plant than to choose one cannot be pruned to desired size in a single pruning which will require frequent, timely pruning. Ask your without severely damaging the plants. These plants nurseryman or consult a reliable source for growth should be pruned back gradually over a period of rate and size of desirable plant species. If a plant several years. needs to be pruned several times each year to control size, it may be the wrong species for that location. The objective of this document is to present Many prunings can be eliminated by proper plant pruning techniques for Florida trees and shrubs. The selection and this can save space in landfills by need for pruning, timing, types of pruning, tree reducing the volume of yard waste. pruning, shrub pruning and tools are discussed separately. Specific examples will support the pruning Plants may be pruned for a number of reasons. concepts. Determine why you are pruning a plant before beginning. WHY PRUNE Maintain or Improve Vigor Proper plant selection can eliminate much of the pruning requirements in today’s landscapes. Removal of dead, dying or damaged wood and Unfortunately, plants are frequently placed in the diseased and insect infested plant parts is an effective landscape according to their current size and shape, way to stop the spread of decay, disease and insects not the size which the plant is likely to attain in five to other portions of the plant or to neighboring or more years. The homeowner or landscape plants. For example, if several branch tips are manager soon finds it necessary to clip or prune infested with aphids or scale, prune and discard the plants frequently to keep them within bounds. For affected shoots. This can be an effective alternative to instance, frequent pruning is assured when photinia spraying insecticides if the infestation is small and 1. This document is Circular 853, Environmental Horticulture Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. This document supersedes The Woody Ornamentalist, Vol. 14, No. 7 (published July 1989) and Special Series #2, SS-ORH-902, both titled "Pruning Ornamental Trees and Shrubs." This information supports Environmental Landscape Management, i.e., landscape design and management for environmental horticulture. Publication date: June 1990. Reviewed: August 1994. 2. Edward F. Gilman, assistant professor; Robert J. Black, associate professor, Environmental Horticulture Department, Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville FL 32611. For more information, contact your county Cooperative Extension Service office. The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function without regard to race, color, sex, age, handicap, or national origin. For information on obtaining other extension publications, contact your county Cooperative Extension Service office. Florida Cooperative Extension Service / Institute of Food and Agricu

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