Learn how to cut back plants in your garden effectively to encourage new growth and remove dead and diseased branches.
Step 1: Study gardening books or online gardening guides to determine the proper shape for the trees, bushes, and other plants in your garden. Maintain your plant's original shape when you're pruning.
Step 2: Remove dead flowers regularly from perennial and annual flowering plants to encourage continual flowering.
TIP: Use shears or clippers to cut back perennials completely either before or after their growing season.
Step 3: Prune shrubs by removing dead or damaged branches. Use shears, loppers, or a saw, depending upon the size of the branches.
TIP: Make your pruning cut at a 45-degree angle. This prevents water from collecting in the cut end of the branch, which could allow fungus to grow and disease to spread.
Step 4: Find a main branch; then find the nearest side branch that grows upward. Prune the main branch just above the side branch.
Step 5: Prune evergreen shrubs in fall or winter, and use the cuttings to decorate for the holidays. Prune again in spring, once new growth has begun, to control height.
TIP: Prune evergreen shrubs with needles carefully in spring. Avoid pruning below new growth, or a branch may never grow back.
Step 6: Prune shrubs that line your house to provide a clearance of 8 to 12 inches from the shrub to the exterior walls. This protects your home, and improves light and airflow to the back of the shrub.
Step 7: Watch your plants thrive for years to come, thanks to careful pruning!
FACT: Eastern cottonwoods, which grow all over North America, are the fastest-growing commercially forested tree on the continent, growing up to 190 feet high.