Pruning: the right place at the right time

Have you heard that we must cut our hair often so that it grows stronger and healthier? Well, so do plants. But we don’t always know the right time to do this. First, we need to know which types of plants need pruning and why.

Unfortunately, there is no simple answer. When dealing with complex issues such as plant life stages, biodiversity and so many different climates in the same country, the responses can be as varied as the situations, but we can assume that this pruning habit exists because of coexistence of plants with humans. After all, pruning does not exist in nature, as it occurs naturally without human intervention.

Natural pruning happens, for example, when animals resort to leaves for food or the temperature of the seasons plays their part: the cold of winter or the heat of summer delimits the growth of plants.

During winter, vegetative dormancy occurs naturally. The sap becomes denser, and metabolism slows down by changing temperature and light. Consequently, the leaves and some woody branches fall due to the action of winds and rain, or as occurs in the Cerrado, due to drought and the long period of drought that will last until mid-September.

But in our gardens, we can have three types of pruning:

Pruning Training

Used to define the shape according to the cultivation pattern according to economic interests. It gives direction in the growth of a plant. The fruit is usually made at the beginning of development, first by raising them to a standard height, avoiding the formation of multiple trunks, and then opening them in a well-divided canopy on two or three fronts to improve the distribution of the sun within the tree. Tree. This pruning also favors fruit production and harvesting. This can also be done with some vines to prevent burglar branches, thus strengthening the main offices and flowering.

In general, pruning occurs while the plant is still young and during the period of vegetative dormancy, which will not always coincide with winter.

When pruning is done systematically (repeatedly ) to form, as in the case of hedges, the cut portion will always be green, without woody branches and this, when practiced correctly, does not harm the plant, but creates a strong demand for nutrients, which needs to be remedied every six months with fertilizer application.

In the case of rose bushes, on the coldest and longest day of the year, you can cut long branches that have grown without many leaves. Always do this above the pruning scar of the previous year, where the plant is subdivided into several chapters. Observe the growth rings next to the buds. It can always be above the last fork.

As I pointed out earlier, it is vital to know more details about the type of plant you want to prune, because, for each class, there are different details. This is the case of pines, which have resinous sap and do not allow pruning on woody trunks and branches but only on the youngest leaves. Once cut, the wooden branches will not grow back. The same is true of hedges made with Ficus Benjamina and Pingo de Ouro ( Duranta Câmara ). Logging represents a lot of energy loss for the plant, so think carefully before you get excited about the scissors.

Another important recommendation is always to sanitize it with bleach to prevent the spread of viruses from one plant to another. At the end of the operation, the application of an antiseptic on the cut branches will favor healing. Apply a strong cinnamon tea with cloves, and if the cut part is more substantial than 2cm in diameter, the use of Bordaleza paste is recommended.

Repairing pruning

This type of pruning is done to improve damage caused by rain and wind, such as falling branches and trees. It requires analysis and reflection because it can be like surgery: an act between the life and death of a tree. To know if this pruning really should be done, first observe the balance of the plant. If by chance the affected part encompasses more than 1/3 of its total, could it pose a risk of falling due to the imbalance of the remaining portion? Could this risk cause damage to houses, sidewalks, or bystanders? Will there be a possibility of regrowth in the cut branch? Will there be room for these new regrowths?

If the breakage of a trunk is from tree or shrub, creeper or herbaceous (except grafted fruit and pine) at the base of the nose, exposing its heartwood, the cut at the bottom is the most appropriate. The possibility for the roots to produce a new branch will be significant, and it will then be up to the landowners to choose which of these branches will be to develop later, with the need to thin out multiple branches to the detriment of one.

Regrettably, an accident in the garden can cause great displeasure, and it is up to the homeowner to consider whether the life of a mangled or unbalanced tree or plant should be spared, as it can pose even more significant risks to the surroundings. Remember to observe electrical cables and hydraulic connections and also that the roots are equal to the projection of the canopy. Consultation with a specialist will always be welcome in these cases, and if the plant is part of the urban tree planting, it will be the responsibility of the city or municipality to perform such service.

Pruning cleaning or revitalization

This is the kind of pruning that is done when a long time has passed without the gardener or the sun entering the garden. It is just the removal of old dry branches, withered leaves, and dry stalks, widespread in a new house, whose garden has grown without limits for several seasons, leaving dead and disordered branches. It works like a haircut, bringing new light into the plants and revitalizing them.

Finally, a warning: the harvest is not pruning!

For chopping herbs, try to avoid chopping woody parts. With basil, regularly cut each week, but alternate between branches, always leaving open space for new leaves to grow in the space left. Do the same for the oregano and thyme harvest.

Wood is the long-lasting part of herbs, where they store rich nutrients to combat water stress (lack of water). Only cut to make new seedlings. Keep in mind that those leaves we buy on the market are grown under special cutting conditions, with artificial lights, timed irrigation in greenhouses, so the leaves get tender and reproduce faster. Harvested from an open crop without these refinements, the plants will be drier and aromatic.

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