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Pruning: A Few Simple Mistakes to Avoid

For obvious reasons, pruning is generally interpreted as one of the simplest of all everyday gardening duties. To such an extent that when it comes to most things like shrubs, bushes and smaller trees, DIY types don’t think twice about taking matters into their own hands. And many do indeed produce impressive results. But at the same time, there are several common pruning mistakes garden designers encounter more than any others.

There are so many reasons why pruning is not only a good idea, but essential.  It’s not just about making a big improvement to the aesthetics of both the tree and its surrounding space. Proactive pruning can also promote better tree health in general. And of course, keeping trees in the kind of condition that minimises or eliminates potential danger to people, or surrounding property.

But while pruning is a relatively remedial job, it is also surprisingly easy to get it well and truly wrong. The problem being that should you go about it the wrong way, you risk inflicting irreparable damage to your trees that can actually do more harm than good. Hence why expert garden designers are often brought in.

Here’s a quick rundown of just a few of the most common pruning mistakes garden designers encounter just about every day:

Over Pruning

First of all, the single most common mistake above and beyond all others is over pruning. In fact, we come across more cases of over pruning than we do those where no pruning has been attempted. Generally speaking where trees and hedges are concerned, over pruning (roughly cutting away more than around 10%) can be fatal. It can lead to the tree no longer being able to produce the nutrients it requires to survive and thrive. Which for obvious reasons can lead to any number of on-going health and development problems. You can always consult with local garden designers to find out how much is too much.

Poor Cutting

It’s not only about the amount of pruning that takes place, either. It’s common to prune or cut too close to the back of the tree. In doing so, there’s every chance you will take away some of the essential protection the tree needs, in order to keep itself safe from pests and disease. This isn’t the kind of damage that’s easy to detect at the time or even becomes noticeable in the near future. Still, it could nonetheless have a highly detrimental effect on the health of your trees.

Poor Timing 

Contrary to popular belief, there isn’t one specific time of year that represents the very best time to go about pruning. Quite to the contrary, in fact. Depending on the variety and species in question, there are very different times of year when trimming and pruning are most highly recommended. As such, the best thing to do is carry out a little prior research on the species you are dealing with. This will help you find out exactly when and how pruning should take place. Alternatively, get in touch with professional garden designers for a brief consultation.


This is the term used in reference to a pruning/cutting job that gets a little bit out of control. When an excessive amount of the crown or head of the tree is removed, it can create a number of issues that go far beyond unattractive appearances. Along with looking anything but uniform, scalping can result in the kinds of structural issues that can vastly increase the likelihood of the tree falling. Or at least, deteriorating in health and stability.

Poor Tools

Last but not least, the quality of the tools and equipment you use makes a difference. When going about any kind of tree management or maintenance, the tools you choose influence the results. If you set about the job with clean, robust and generally high quality tools of a professional standard, everything becomes considerably easier and the results more professional in nature. Which is why expert garden designers only ever use the best of the best.

Pruning represents an essential measure for guaranteeing the on-going health, stability and beauty of trees of all sizes. Whatever the extent and nature of the work that needs to be carried out, it’s always worth reaching out to the professionals before getting started.



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