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Prune Bushes & Trim Trees



Prevent damage to future foliage, prevent falling limbs from injuring people or damaging property and add value to your home’s curb appeal by maintaining your trees and hedges. Different types of plants require different types of pruning. Follow these instructions for proper pruning and lawn maintenance.


What You'll Need:

  • pruning shears
  • hedge shears
  • 2-3 wooden stakes
  • string
  • mallet
  • rake

How To:

  1. 1

    First, gather your supplies. You will need: A pair of pruning shears. If you are just pruning hedges, you will need a pair of hedge shears. Hedge shears are only meant to cut through soft, non-woody stems of plants and can’t efficiently cut through thicker branches. Your local home maintenance store should have a wide selection available, so ask for help if you are unsure which type to purchase. For hedge and shrub pruning, you will also need: Two or three wooden stakes, some string, and a mallet, which can also be found at a home improvement store. Also, grab a rake to clean up the trimmed branches once you’ve finished

  2. 2

    If you’re pruning flowering or young shrubs: Pruning young shrubs will make them grow fuller in the future. With your pruning shears, make a cut about ¼-inch away from the bud of a branch. The bud of a branch is where a branch started growing off of the main trunk of the tree. Angle your cut at 45 degrees and cut away from the buds. Make sure you don’t leave a stub. This will make your shrub or tree more susceptible to pest infestation.

  3. 3

    If you’re trimming small tree branches: When trimming small tree branches, cut about ¼-inch away from the bud at a 45-degree angle. Don’t trim a young or newly planted tree, it needs as many leaves as it can grow. Take a look at the tree you want to trim. Do any limbs look dead, diseased, or broken? Trimming these parts of your tree will help its health immensely. Also, trim any limbs that sag close to the ground and any branches that grow parallel with each other or rub up against each other. This will lead to unhealthy growth.

  4. 4

    If you’re pruning fully-grown hedges or shrubs: Hedges should be pruned twice a year, once in spring and again towards the end of summer to keep them dense and healthy. Keep the hedge shears as level as you can to make the most even cuts. It is always better to cut too little than too much. Trim your hedges so that they are wider at the base than at the top to ensure that all parts are receiving equal sunlight. Pull any loose branches off of the hedges and rake up the pieces you’ve cut off.

  5. 5

    If you’re concerned about having straight hedges, you will need to mark any overgrowth. This is where your string and wooden stakes come in. Using your mallet, pound a stake into the ground at one end of the hedge and on the other side of the hedge. Tie your string to one of these stakes a few inches off the ground next to your hedges. Walk the string over to the other end and tie it to the other stake at the same level. You will want your strings to be taut. Once you’ve done this, you will be able to clearly see where your hedges or shrubs are over-grown.

  6. 6

    Remember: Never prune near power lines!

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