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Prune - /pro͞on/ - verb

July 24th, 2019

Definition: To trim or cut away parts of trees or shrubs in order to support tree growth and maintenance. Pruning can be quite technical and labor-intensive, requiring different practices and considerations depending on the species, variety, and climate. It must also be done regularly to increase production and reduce risk of disease.

Benefits of Pruning

  • Promotes healthy, vigorous growth by strengthening the root system and the branches you want to grow.

  • Encourages production by encouraging bud growth, which increases the quantity and quality of fruit and nut production.

  • Prevents and controls disease by identifying and pruning diseased branches early to maintain tree health.

In the Forest Garden: Make sure you always prune branches with a freshly sharpened, clean tool to ensure clean cuts and reduce damage and exposure to disease. You can use pruning shears, a knife, or a machete for smaller branches. For larger branches, it is best to use a saw to ensure a clean cut. You should never pull, twist, or rip branches off, even if you have already cut through the majority of the branch. This can tear the bark on the branch or stem that you are removing it from, leaving a large wound. When removing branches always cut them flush with the branch or stem from which they originate by keeping the flat side of the pruning tool flush against it as you make the cut.

Learn more about pruning techniques in Module 11 of the Forest Garden Training Manual.