Spring is a great time for pruning lots of things in your yard and garden. But pruning your plants and trees can be an intimidating topic for new gardeners, and it seems to be one of those things that really stresses people out. Like, really stresses people out!! But don’t worry! I am going to make this super easy for you.
And to help make pruning even easier for you, this spring I’ve teamed up with Fiskars to test out some of their PowerGear2 pruning tools while I work out in my garden this spring! Fiskars tells me that their PowerGear2 pruning tools are the bomb, because they give you more power with every cut. But I’ll get to that shortly. First, let’s talk about pruning…
Pruning Your Plants and Trees
I know pruning can sound like a huge scary thing; and you might think that you need to know exactly how to prune every single type of plant and tree in your yard before you touch any garden pruning shears… but that’s far from true. Trust me, it’s really not that hard!
First off, instead of thinking of pruning as a chore all on it’s own, think of it as something you do on a regular basis as a way to keep your gardens looking tidy (heck, you’re probably already doing it!). Most of the time pruning is totally optional, and it’s not something you necessarily need to do anyway.
Second (and this is the best part), there is a secret for making it super easy to figure out the best time for pruning your plants and trees. Are you ready? Here it is… as a general rule of thumb, you should prune your plants and trees after they are done blooming. That’s it! I mean honestly, how easy is that?!?
Let me give you some examples…
Pruning Trees and Shrubs
Let’s start by talking specifically about flowering trees, shrubs and vines (basically, anything with woody stems). So, following our general rule of thumb, here’s what I’ll be pruning this spring/early summer…
- Spring Blooming Trees (e.g.: linden, cherry, apple, crabapple) – Cut off any dead or sick looking branches for sure. You can also prune trees to keep them from getting too thick and allow for better airflow (this is important for fruit trees).
- Flowering Shrubs – (e.g.: lilacs, wagelia, hydrengea, roses, russian sage) – Prune back the dead growth in the spring down to the first new growth on that stem (or all the way to the ground if there’s no new growth on that stem). Lilac and wagelia bushes can be pruned back a bit shorter every few years to help keep them from thinning out in the middle.
- Perennial Vines (e.g.: honeysuckle and clematis) – Prune off any of the dead vines from last year that don’t have any new growth on them to keep the vine looking nice, and to keep it’s shape. Only cut down to just above the new growth, and take care not to cut a vine below new growth (sometimes they can get so tangled that it’s hard to see what you’re doing).
Pruning Garden Plants
Garden plants can also be pruned in the spring after the plants are done blooming. Most of the time, all you’ll need to do is cut back the spent flower stems to keep the garden looking tidy.
You can also trim back the foliage of the plant to make it more shapely, but don’t remove too much of the green foliage, because spring blooming perennials and bulbs need their foliage to build up the energy to bloom next year.
Pruning garden plants is totally optional, but it helps to keep the garden from looking burnt out and overgrown once the summer plants start putting on their show. Plus, it’s nice to prune the plants that are done blooming so the new bloomers can really stand out!
These are some of the garden plants I’ll be pruning this spring…
- Spring Blooming Perennials (like irises and peonies) – Deadheading the flowers as they fade not only keeps the plants looking nice, it can also help encourage more flower buds to open. Cut back all the flower stems once the plants are done blooming. You can also prune back the foliage on these a bit to keep the plants looking neat.
- Aggressive Re-seeders (like columbine and chives) – Some garden plants can be aggressive re-seeders, so it’s a good idea to prune them once the flowers die back to keep them looking nice, and also remove the seeds.
- Spring Blooming Bulbs (like tulips, hyacinthus and daffodils) – cut back the flower stems after the flowers fade to keep the garden looking nice, but wait to prune the leaves until after they die back on their own.
Tools for Pruning Your Plants and Trees
When it comes to pruning, you’ll need some tools. Using the right tool for the job will not only make it easier for you, but it will be safer for your plants and trees too. Like I mentioned above, Fiskars sent me a few of their PowerGear2 garden pruning tools, and I got to put them to the test. Here are the deets…
Fiskars Pruning Shears
I’ve been using a few different types of Fiskars pruning shears for years, and they are some of my favorite garden pruning shears. So I couldn’t wait to try out the PowerGear2 pruner. Let me tell you, I am impressed. This isn’t your ordinary hand pruner, this is a heavy lifter – and it’s very good at it’s job. The PowerGear2 pruner really did make cutting through thicker stems and branches much easier than any other pruner I’ve used. I was able to use it to easily cut through some pretty thick woody stems and branches with one hand, where normally I would need to use both hands.
Just keep in mind that these garden pruning shears are made for powering through thick stems and branches, so this one isn’t going to be your go-to pruner for lighter garden cleanup. Keep this one in your garden bag so you have it on hand to use for the thicker branches and stems while pruning your plants and trees. It really cuts through those tough stems like butter.
I was super excited when Fiskars sent me their PowerGear2 loppers. I don’t have a tool like this, but a neighbor of ours did and we loved it. We were actually missing it after our neighbors moved away (well, I guess we miss the neighbors too!).
Again, I’m super impressed with the cutting power of these loppers. In the past, my husband would get out the saw for to cut the thicker branches off when we were pruning our trees. I was able to cut some very thick branches with little effort. There’s no other tool in our garage that would have cut this branch as easily and cleanly as the PowerGear2 lopper did. Wow! They really do make pruning feel a whole lot easier (in fact, I was loving this thing so much that I didn’t want to stop pruning, LOL!).
PowerGear2 Hedge Shears
Hedge pruning shears make it really easy to quickly prune the dead flowers off of plants like chives, peonies and columbine. I was able to test these PowerGear2 hedge shears out during a few of my spring pruning chores, and it works great. I can’t wait to try it for my fall garden cleanup tasks!
Where to Buy These Fabulous Pruning Tools
If you’re interested in learning more about Fiskars PowerGear2 line of tools, you can read more about them here – and you can purchase the tools from that page too!
Using the right tools really does make the task of pruning much easier. Oh, one last tip I have is to make sure that your pruning tools are sharp and clean before you start pruning your plants and trees. Dull and dirty tools can lead to damage and disease, and you don’t want that.
Do you have any tips to share for pruning your plants and trees? Leave a comment below!
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