Commercial Landscaping Blog for The San Jose | Bay Area, CA

Top 8 Pruning Mistakes By a Commercial Landscaping Service

Posted by Gene Ebertowski, President on Mar 29, 2017 9:10:00 AM


8 Common Pruning Mistakes

Proper pruning enhances the Natural beauty of almost any commercial landscaping service, while improper pruning can ruin or greatly reduce its landscape potential. By using improper pruning methods healthy plants are often weakened or deformed.


Mistake 1: Tree topping. Plants that might grow too large for the site, are not entirely hardy, or become unsightly with age should be used wisely and kept to a minimum in the landscape plan. The exceptions are trees that require to be pruned in light of Safety and Clearance; however the pruning technique would be selective using the appropriate technique called Reduction Cut Pruning.

Mistake 2: Cutting branches flush to a tree trunk. If you cut branches flush to the trunk -- or flush to an intersecting branch -- decay penetrates the trunk, reducing the life span of your tree.

Mistake 3: Pruning or Hedge trimming every shrub into a round or rectangular shape. Try to avoid destroying the natural shape or growth habit when pruning.

Mistake 4: Trimming water sprouts. Pruned plants sometimes develop water sprouts -- ugly, twiggy upward growths from spots where branches were cut.

Mistake 5: Cutting off branches that are too large in diameter, this can permanently damage a plant or tree.

Mistake 6: Using hedge clippers or Power Hedge Trimmer Machines. These clippers trim the surface of a plant, which is appropriate only for hedges. Power hedge clippers, in particular, should be used only on hedges because they can do a lot of damage. Use real pruning tools which include bypass hand pruners and a pruning saw.

Mistake 7: Heavy pruning during times of harsh weather. Spring is usually the best time for heavy pruning. In general, it’s best to prune flowering trees and shrubs soon after they flower.

Mistake 8: Pruning Evergreens

With few exceptions, tree pruning in the San Jose Bay Area region may vary slightly, however generally speaking, evergreens (conifers) require little pruning. Different types of evergreens should be pruned according to their varied growth habits. If you want to promote more dense growth, remove up to two-thirds of the length of newly expanded candles. Don’t prune further back than the current year’s growth.

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