Pruning Tips

Urban Farm Lifestyle

  Healthy-Sustainable-Regenerative Lifestyle 

Pruning Trees & Shrubs

“To prune or not to prune?” is the question we ask ourselves when our plants are not looking healthy or have become overgrown.  This is the best time of year to prune, while your plants are in dormancy.  In this issue, expert arborists explain their techniques on pruning for healthy plants.

David Proctor


From Seed To Fork, Egg To Plate.

    We may not live on a farm, but we can grow where we live.





Pruning Dormant Plants

by David Proctor

 February 20, 2020

Urban Farm Lifestyle Magazine    Published Weekly

Pruning has some basic techniques that can be utilized by the novice pruner to know when and where to make those critical cuts.

Prune by using the four D’s to determine what to cut: dead, diseased, damaged, and dysfunctional.

Start with making sure that the tools you are using are sharp and clean.  There are many inexpensive products that can be purchased for sharpening pruning shears and loppers.  You want sharp tools to limit the crushing effect that you get when using one that is dull.


Pruning Basics

Pruning Basics

Start by removing dead and diseased limbs, and unwanted growth such as suckers and water sprouts.  Suckers are the growth from the root system and water sprouts are shoots that grow rapidly upward such as you will see when trees are top cut.

Pruning Limbs

Pruning Limbs

The “when” to prune is generally answered by when a plant is in dormancy.  There are exceptions to pruning during dormancy depending on the plant and the outcome that you want, but now is the time to remove dead branches and shape the plants for spring.

Pruning helps plant vigor and keeps the plant in a healthy and attractive state for the growth of blooms and fruit.  So sharpen your tools and give your plants that needed pre-spring cut and you will be rewarded with the fruit of your efforts. Pun intended.

Winter Pruning 13:30
Dave Wilson Nursery

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Quick Tip


  • “Use sharp pruning shears for any cuts on branches smaller than 1/2 inch in diameter. Use loppers or a pruning saw for larger diameter wood.
  • Cut thin diameter branches 1/4 inch above a bud that is facing in a direction you want the new branch to grow. Make the cut on an angle to shed water and promote faster healing.
  • Horizontal branches produce more fruit than vertical ones. Prune vertical branches back to a main stem or trunk.
  • In spring and summer, remove suckers arising from the base of the tree and water sprouts arising from branches. Depending on the cuts and type of tree, pruning can stimulate lots of this type of growth, so it’s best to remove it quickly so the tree can put more energy into growing fruiting branches.
  • Prune moderately every year to keep the tree healthy and fruiting consistently. The tendency of some fruit trees to bear in alternate years can be caused by insufficient pruning.”

Bibliography: by Tom Del Hotal
Edible Landscaping with Charlie Nardozzi


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