Pruning Or Shearing
What is the difference?
Keeping your plants trimmed and properly shaped encourages growth and health, while also keeping stray branches trimmed and neat.
While there are several ways to accomplish this, most people turn to shearing or pruning. Both of these different types of cuts have a unique purpose, but each technique is valuable. So...what’s the difference, and which does your home or garden need?
What Is Pruning?
Most people refer to any type of cut as pruning—but it’s actually a specific technique. Specifically, pruning is the selective process of removing branches from a plant to ensure it’s the right size. When pruning you may, for example, snip an entire branch off of a rose bush to keep it from growing outward.
Pruning is also important for healthy plants and shrubs. Removing a dying branch from a tree is essential to encouraging the tree to focus on its other branches.
When done well, pruning actually encourages new growth across the entire plant, not just on the area where you’ve removed the branch. This is an ideal option, then, for encouraging plants to grow and expand. Pruning lets you control the size of the plant, but it still encourages its natural shape and look.
What Is Shearing?
When shearing, the goal is to shape the plant. Instead of removing entire branches, then, shearing focuses on removing just the outer edges of branches.
While there’s no real benefit to the shrub for this in terms of health, shearing does give you the ability to shape the tree or plant in any form you would like, for the right aesthetic look to fit your space.
In that vein, shearing doesn’t encourage new growth of the whole plant. Rather, that new growth is focused just on the outer edges of the plant. And, it doesn’t encourage much new growth either. If you want to keep a shrub or plant from getting large, shearing is the better option. With shearing, you’re creating an artificial look to the plant, though a more formal look that some may desire.
When should you shear?
With evergreens, shearing is an important tool. It allows you to create the formal, clean-lined landscape you’re after. It’s a good way to maintain the look and feel of your shrubs. In this type of formal setting, shearing should be done every few weeks.
If you have a more natural landscape, shearing your evergreens can make them stand out and look out of place. It’s not a necessary form of trimming for the plant. Instead, it’s best just to prune these evergreens encouraging their natural shape.
Can you overshear?
The answer to this is yes. It is very possible—and not uncommon—to go too far. This, though, creates risks to the plant. If the plant doesn’t have enough surface area to maintain its health, that could mean the plant doesn’t just not grow, but that it can die. Shearing keeps just the exterior of the plant trimmed, but the inside may be brown and unhealthy because it’s not getting the sunlight it needs.
New growth is also very important to any plant. It allows the plant to shed older areas that are no longer producing the energy it needs. If you cut off all of the new growth every time, it’s never able to recover from that.
There are many different forms/types of pruning, and all trees require certain types. Please consult your arborist for the best practices for your tree.
Whenever possible, work with an arborist to ensure the proper cutting methods are used. At Mister Tree, we’ll talk to you about your options and the best techniques to create stunning growth. Get in touch now to learn more.
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