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The Importance of Pruning Your Trees and Shrubs in March

Why Prune in March?

Summer is when you enjoy your trees and shrubs – early spring is time to get them ready! That means pruning, which helps plants grow strong and healthy, retain their natural shape, and develop full foliage.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Start With the Right Tools  
    Using a sharp, clean pair of pruners will make the job easier, and you’ll be less likely to damage your plants. One-hand pruning shears with curved blades work best. 

  1. Be Smart
    The best plants to prune while it’s still cold outside are woody, non-spring blooming plants. That includes crape myrtles (which bloom on new growth) fruit trees and bushes, and rose bushes and liriope which, when cut, will ensure maximum growth. If the tree or shrub flowers in the spring, you may want to wait until after it blooms before pruning. 

  1. Visualize It 
    What do you want your plant to look like? Know why you’re removing each branch. During winter, most – if not all – of the leaves should have fallen off, so you should easily be able to see each plant’s existing structure. When you prune, you should aim to keep a plant the same size, remove dead, weakened or crossing branches, stimulate growth and remove branches that are otherwise in the way.

  1. Thin the Plant
    This means removing an entire branch, which helps promote the health of the plant. However, be careful. Don’t cut into the area at the base of the branch that you are removing, which can slow down the healing process.

  1. Head Back the Plant 
    This isn’t as extensive. Simply shorten the length of the branch to a bud. Cut at a slight angle above the bud, and never leave a stub.

  1. Stick to the One-Third and One-Fourth Rules
    Don’t remove more than one-fourth of a tree’s crown in a season. Side branches should be one-third smaller than the diameter of the trunk. 

  1. Let the Experts Do the Big Jobs
    For high branches, big trees, or a large volume of trees, it can be best to hand the job off to a trained professional. Ehlinger Lawn Service can help you there. We’re professionals who care about what we do. We’ll take care of your tree and shrub pruning, so you can worry less.