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Photo: Reena Bammi
There's a right time—and a right way— to prune. Click the arrow below to see diagrams of pruning cuts
Don't Be Afraid to Make the Cut. A few minutes spent pruning is one of the best things you can do for the plants in your yard, but it's one of the most neglected tasks of homeowning. Why? Because for most of us, it's a black art. The risks of butchery seem high, and the rewards low. "But pruning isn't difficult," says This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook. "And what you get in return is thicker foliage, more flowers, and healthier plants." On the following pages, we'll show you a few simple pruning techniques and how to apply them to the shrubs and small trees on your property. Once you've mastered them, it's just a matter of timing. "Most homeowners prune when it's convenient for them, but that might not be the best time for the plant," adds Roger. Consulting the plant lists will take the mystery out of this part of pruning as well. Keep reading to learn how you can get the job done with confidence.
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