2018-02-20 / Columns

Pruning Time

Garden Scene
Peggy Bolton

Mid-February begins pruning time. Pruning should be completed before the sap has moved up into the branches. In Delaware County, pruning should take place in early spring and be completed by late March or early April.

There are many excellent pruning sites on the internet. Some of the most useful are on YouTube, where you are led step-by-step through the process.

Younger trees and bushes are usually quick to prune, while older fruit trees may take hours.

Sharp bypass pruners are a must when pruning. This means the blades go past each other to close, similar to scissors. They do not rip the plant material, but rather give a quick, clean cut. There are also YouTubes on how to sharpen your equipment. A pruning saw will also be useful. It is small in size and very sharp.

If deer and rabbits are a problem in your area, consider leaving pruned debris on the ground for them to nibble on. Then later in the spring as other food sources become available, discard the brush prunings.

Make sure to remove any winter damage or diseased branches. Do not use tar or tree sealers where cutting is done. It is healthier for the tree to leave the areas open to the air.

Send questions to: Country Grown Perennials LLC, Peggy Bolton, 4801 Pines Brook Road, Walton, NY 13856. Enclose a stamped, self-addressed envelope if you wish to receive a personal reply. Visit us on the web at

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