At Pymble Lawn Mowing we have the experience to assist you with the often daunting task of pruning your shrubs and trees to ensure their long term health and growth.
Call us now on 1300 882 787 to discuss your pruning requirements.
Some information about Pruning
Pruning in landscaping and gardening is the practice
of removing diseased, non-productive, or otherwise
unwanted portions from a plant. The purpose of pruning
is to shape the plant by controlling or directing
plant growth, to maintain the health of the plant,
or to increase the yield or quality of flowers and
fruits. Proper pruning is as much a skill as it
is an art, since badly pruned plants can become
diseased or grow in undesirable ways.
Proponents of pruning often argue that it improves
the health of the plant and makes sturdier structure,
while opponents believe that pruning
harms plants' "natural" forms and leads
to wounding which may become infected.
In general the smaller the wound (smaller the branch
that is cut) the less harm to the tree. It is therefore
better to formative prune the tree when juvenile
than try to cut off large branches on a mature tree.
Consequences of incorrect pruning performed to
large trees can be dangerous. If a shrub was incorrectly
pruned and a piece broke off it may not do much
damage. However if a tree next to the house was
incorrectly pruned and a large branch fell from
20m up it could be deadly.
Common Pruning Terms:
Removal of dead and decaying branches from the
tree to minimise the risk of damage to property/injury
Crown - Canopy Thinning
Increase light and reduce wind resistance by selective
removal of branches throughout the canopy of the
tree. This is a common practice which improves the
tree's strength against adverse weather conditions
as the wind can pass through the tree resulting
in less "load" being placed on the tree.
Generally performed on trees that do not have a
dense impenetrable canopy as opening a 100% dense
canopy up with holes for wind to enter can result
in broken branches and uprooting.
Crown Canopy Lifting Removal of lower branches.
Increase clearance for property, people and vehicles.
Directional or Formative Pruning
Removal of appropriate branches to make the tree
structurally sound whilst shaping it.  Vista
Pruning Selectively pruning a window of view in
Reducing the height and or spread of a tree by
selectively cutting back to smaller branches.
A regular form of pruning where certain deciduous
species are pruned back to pollard heads every year
in the dormant period. This practice is commenced
on juvenile trees so they can adapt to the harshness
of the practice.
Types of pruning
Regardless of all the various names used for types
of pruning there are only two basic cuts. 'One cuts
back to an intermediate point, called heading back
cut' and the other cuts back to some point of origin,
called thinning out cut.
Removing a portion of a growing stem down to a
set of desirable buds or side-branching stems. This
is commonly performed in well trained plants for
a variety of reasons, for example to stimulate growth
of flowers, fruit or branches, as a preventative
measure to wind and snow damage on long stems and
branches, and finally to encourage growth of the
stems in a desirable direction. Also commonly known
A more drastic form of pruning, a thinning out
cut is the removal of an entire shoot, limb, or
branch at its point of origin.
This is usually employed to revitalize a plant
by removing over-mature, weak, problematic, and
excessive growths. When performed correctly, thinning
encourages the formation of new growths that will
more readily bear fruit and flowers. This is a common
technique in pruning roses and for implifying and
"opening-up" the branching of neglected
trees, or for renewing shrubs with multiple branches.
Topping is a very severe form of pruning which
involves removing all branches and growths down
to a few large branches or to the trunk of the tree.
When performed correctly it is used on very young
trees, and can be used to begin training younger
trees for pollarding or for trellising to form an
espalier. In orchards, fruit trees are often lopped
to encourage regrowth and to maintain a smaller
tree for ease of picking fruit. The pruning regime
in orchards is more planned and the productivity
of each tree is an important factor. Deadheading
is the act of removing spent flowers or flowerheads
for aesthetics, to prolong bloom for up to several
weeks or promote rebloom, or to prevent seeding.
Some tools utilized for pruning. Some tools utilized
for pruning. The general rule to pruning is to always
cut in a location where growth will occur, whether
the cut is next to a bud or another branch. Cutting
a branch beyond where growth will occur effectively
kills all portions of that branch back to the closest
branch, bud, or dormant bud clusters, leaving a
stub of dead wood. The withered stub will eventually
rot away and fall off. Prior to that, however, it
will prevent the plant from forming a callus over
the cut surface, which will in turn invite insects
and infection. All cuts should be relatively smooth
since this will aid in healing. Also, the pruning
cut should not be too large when compared to the
growing point. For instance, a large cut on a 20
cm trunk down to a 15 cm branch should be fine,
but the same cut to the trunk down to a 1 cm twig
or bud is considerably less ideal and should be
avoided if possible.
Pruning to bud
A correct pruning cut will allow for quick healing
and promote vigorous growth from the closest bud
to the cut. The cut should be close enough to the
bud to reduce the size of the stub of dead wood
that will form from the cut, but far enough away
to prevent the bud from being adversely affected
by the cut though desiccation. Cutting too close
to the bud (under-cutting) sometimes results in
the death of the bud, which results in a scenario
similar to cutting too far away from the bud (over-cutting).
In general, a correct cut should be angled at a
moderate 35-45 degree slant such that its lowest
point is situated on the same level as the tip of
the growth bud. This technique is usually applied
when pinching or when cutting-back.
Pruning to a main branch
The pruning cut should occur slightly away from
and follow the branch collar. When cutting away
branches growing directly from the roots, the cut
should be flush and level to the ground. This technique
is usually applied when thinning or to remove larger
dead or damaged branches. When using pruning shears
or loppers to remove a branch back to a main branch,
the "hook" portion of the shears should
always face away from the main branch. This ensures
that the blade will not leave a protruding stub
and the hook will not damage the branch collar or
parts of the main branch.
Large heavy branches
Depending on the weight of the branch, the first
cut should be a notch on the underside of the branch
about a third to half of the way through. The bulk
of the branch should then be removed with a follow-through
cut slightly above the first cut, thus leaving a
limb stub. The purpose of this is to stop the weight
of the branch from tearing the bark of the tree
from the underside, which would normally occur if
the removal was done with one cut. The limb stub
ensures that any cracking of the wood resulting
from the branch separation is limited to the portion
of the wood to be removed. The branch collar should
then be located, and can be identified by the strip
of rough bark running down from the topside of the
branch at its junction with the stem. The cut for
removing the limb stub should be just outside the
branch collar, leaving a small bump. The bump and
the branch collar should not be removed since this
action can reduce healing time, which could result
in a major infection.
Pruning small branches can be done at any time
of year. Large branches, with more than 5-10% of
the plant's crown, can be pruned either during dormancy
in winter, or, for species where winter frost can
harm a recently-pruned plant, in mid summer just
after flowering. Autumn should be avoided, as the
spores of disease and decay fungi are abundant at
this time of year. Some woody plants that tend to
bleed profusely from cuts, such as maples, or which
callous over slowly, such as magnolias, are better
pruned in summer or at the onset of dormancy instead.
Woody plants that flower early in the season, on
spurs that form on wood that has matured the year
before, such as apples, should be pruned right after
flowering, as later pruning will sacrifice flowers
the following season. Forsythia, azaleas and lilacs
all fall into this category.