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    How to Prune Small Trees and Shrubs during Summer Time

    Pruning is indispensable to the overall health of your trees and shrubs. It’s essential to eliminate decayed branches, promote new growth, improve shape, and enhance the yield of flowers and fruits. Nonetheless, knowing when to prune your plants is an essential part of good tree husbandry. In essence, choosing the right time for pruning depends on the species and purpose of your trimming.

    Though experts recommend winter-pruning, summer pruning has gained more and more traction with gardeners recently. And for good reason.

    Why Prune Your Trees and Shrubs During Summer Time?

    With small trees and shrubs fully-foliaged in summer, it’s easier for gardeners to gauge how much pruning a plant needs. Also, pruning during summer times is less likely to enhance new growth, a bonus in plant thinning. Nonetheless, summer-trimming should be done a month before the first sign of winter. Why? Acute cold can damage the plant at the point of cut.

    What to Know Before Pruning:

    Growth Buds

    Good tree husbandry calls for better understanding of the locations and role of growth buds.

    Terminal Bud: It promotes the growth of the shoot. It also produces hormones that deter the growth of other buds.

    Lateral Buds: They enhance sideways growth making the plant appear bushy. They tend of remain dormant until the effect of inhibiting hormones has faded. If you remove these buds, you encourage upward growth.

    Latent Buds: They are a “damage control” for the plant. If a branch is trimmed just above a dormant bud, it transforms into a new shoot. They are ideal for repairing damaged plants.

    Proper Cuts

    The secret to successful pruning lies in the way you make your cuts. For cuts above growth buds, angle it at approximately 45% with the highest point about 0.25 inches above the bud. Also, the lowest point should lie opposite the bud.

    Pruning Small Trees and Shrubs

    Step #1: Pinching

    An alternative to cutting, pinching entails removal of the terminal bud with our hand. Benefits? It inhibits elongation thus encourages bushy growth. Pinching is typical in pruning perennial and annual flowering shrubs.

    Step #2: Heading

    In heading, you cut further back on the terminal bud. If the lateral bud has developed a leaf, cut just above it. Typically done with a pruner, heading enhances the dense growth of your plants.

    Step #3: Shearing

    Usually aimed to create hedges, shearing doesn’t target growth buds. It should only be done on small-leaved bushes using hand-held pruners or electric shearers.

    Step #4: Thinning

    Perhaps the best pruning practice ideal for summer months. It eliminates many lateral buds, branches or even stems. The primary purpose of trimming is to reduce tree bulk without encouraging regrowth.


    Summer pruning requires lopping shears, pole pruners, pruning saws, hedge shears, and hand shears.