You may have the urge to just start hacking away at your shrubs, annuals and perennials to prune back dead branches and flowers but there is more to it than simply cutting away.  Below is a quick and basic guide on how to approach this easy gardening task. 

First Step

Be sure that your pruning shears, loppers or saw are properly sharpened.  By using sharp and properly maintained tools you will ensure a nice clean cut.  Your pruning shears should be reserved for smaller shrubs such as a spirea and flowers.




How and Where to Prune 

You will see a spot where the branches of the shrub meets the main trunk.  It will create a “v” and is called the branch collar.  This is the spot where you will want to prune the shrub by cutting at a 45 degree angle.  By cutting at an angle it will mitigate against water sitting on top of the cut and creating a fungus that could potentially destroy your shrub.  

We like to use a method called “Heading Back”.  When heading back you are cutting the leader of the shrub which will prevent it from growing upwards.  You will locate the lateral branch and follow it all the way in until you see a new bud, this is where you will make your 45 degree cut.    You may choose to prune this way in order to keep a shrub from growing tall and want to encourage a sideways growth to fill in the beds.  Heading back is also a great way to reshape a shrub that has not been properly maintained or shaped.  

Pruning Annuals and Perennials 

Plants such as annuals and perennials are very easy to prune.  “Dead Heading” is the process of pinching back the annuals where they have already bloomed.  You will want to locate the herbaceous or non woody stem section of the flower or plant and gently pinch the dead growth off.  This will send nutrients back into the flowering portion of the plant.  

By properly maintaining your garden and landscaping you are not only building curb appeal but you are creating an outdoor oasis in your very own yard that you and your family can enjoy day after day!

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