Pruning ornamental trees and shrubs (2017)
Pruning is an important practice for maintaining the health, size, form and vigor of trees and shrubs in the landscape. It can reduce transplanting stress by reducing leaf surface area to compensate for root loss during harvest from nursery fields. Pruning of trees is important during the first few seasons after planting to develop a scaffold of strong, well-spaced branches with wide angles of attachment with the trunk. Often the trees that break up in wind and ice storms are those that were never pruned to develop a good structure. Sometimes pruning can be used to slow the spread of decay or disease by removing infected tissues and allowing the plant to seal, or compartmentalize, damage. Pruning can also enhance flowering and fruiting by forcing the growth of new shoots and improving light penetration to lower leaves. Often, plants are pruned simply to keep them in bounds or prevent them from crowding other plants in the landscape. Some gardeners prune plants into interesting and unusual shapes to create interest or make use of a small space.
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