Make the cut today.
The ultimate purpose of pruning is to establish a strong framework, improve growth, remove branches that are diseased, dead or damaged and improve branch color, flowering and fruit production.
Our plant expert, Melinda Myers, prefers to prune in late winter. The structure of the tree is more visible at that time, so you can easily see what needs to stay and what should be removed.
But winter isn't the only time you can prune, any time it needs to be done throughout the year is fine, with a few exceptions, of course. Avoid pruning in spring when leaves expand and late in the growing season. Ultimately, though, there's no right or wrong time to prune. It depends on your specific garden and the plants you have growing in your yard. Once your plants are established, you will be able to determine your own pruning schedule.
Now that you know when to prune, you need to know how to prune.
It's pretty simple, actually. When making a cut, do it right above a healthy bud or where one branch joins another. These cuts will close quickly and will stimulate natural growth.
When cutting above a single bud, make the cut on a slight angle. Make sure the bud is pointed away from the center of the plant, in the direction you want the new growth. Paying attention to detail such as that will save you pruning work later.
When cutting above double and whorled buds, make a straight cut above the buds. Those buds will develop into stems, so make sure you cut where there is room for new growth to develop.
Now that you know the basics of pruning, go out and try it yourself!