Pruning is cutting away unwanted and dead parts of a woody plant to give it a good shape and facilitate its growth. Pruning yields better flowers and fruits and ensures the health of the plant. Adopting the right technique of pruning is very important, a light pruning to stimulate the growing tips or a hard pruning to thin out and removing entire branches.
In general all diseased, dead and dying growth should be removed, and all cutting must be done all the way back to the live wood. All cuts should be clean and sloping so water will run off and it is advisable to coat all cuts larger than a quarter of an inch with a proprietary wound protection compound such as ARBREX.
Secateurs are used for cuts up to 1 inch, and are the most common hand tool a gardener owns, purchasing the highest quality pair you can afford will pay dividends over the years. Gardeners also have a good pruning knife at hand and this should be kept sharp not only for pruning but for taking cuttings. Hand shears, both anvil type and scissor type are good for pruning. Anvil type shears are used for most of the plants. Branches of about 1 inch diameter can be cut by them. Scissor type ones are used for precise cutting of plants. Lopping shears are also used. They can cut branches from 0.5 inches to 1.5 inches diameter. Hedge shears are used for pruning hedges or already pruned plants. A Pruning saw is another tool used It cuts branches more than 1.5 inches in diameter.
Pruning tools have to be maintained well. They should be sharp enough to prune properly. They should be clean. Make sure to clean pruning tools with denatured alcohol after pruning, especially after pruning infected plants.
Early spring is the best time for pruning your garden. Most of the plants are inactive this time of the year. Floral plants can be pruned once the flowering season has ended. If pruned in the flowering season it will not harm the plant but flowers will not be produced immediately on the pruned branch. Pruning plants at the end of summer or early fall might destroy the flowers because of frost. Proper and timed pruning will ensure more flowers and fruits and keep the plant healthy.