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To cut or not to cut – that’s the basic question for anyone pruning shrubs and small or ornamental trees. Hoppe Tree Service President August Hoppe has pruned thousands of plants in his 20 years as a certified arborist. He talks about the art and science of pruning in this Q&A.

Q: Why is pruning a task that’s so easy to put off?

August: I think often people are not sure how to do it and they’re worried about making a mistake that can’t be undone. Or, they’ve tried it and are unhappy with the result. There can be a lack of confidence in which branches to remove as well. The good news is once you understand some key principles of pruning, the task can become much easier.

Q: Can you give us a 30-second overview of the webinar how-tos?

August: Absolutely. First, we will learn about some different type of cuts and why they are made. Then we will dive into how the tree or shrub responds to various types of pruning along with some key do’s and don’ts with pruning. There are plenty of examples and illustrations to guide us along the way as well.

Q: What’s one of the most common mistakes people can avoid?

August: Too many heading cuts! Many people constantly just round over their bushes on the top, or cut back branches from ornamental trees without thinking of how the tree will respond. This type of approach creates new growth only on the outer areas and the interior of the plant starts to decline with little to no new growth.

Q: When should homeowners ask tree service professionals for help?

August: Unlocking the mystery of pruning is not that difficult and it certainly is an activity that many people can perform, especially on a small scale. However, experience does play a role, and professionals bring their knowledge and expertise to the job. Branches near wires, limbs at height, and storm damage where branches are under tension are all situations where professionals should be called in. There’s also efficiency in clean up - chipping up branches and cleaning up and disposing of the debris is an important part of the job. Lastly, time is a reason to get in touch with tree service experts. Often homeowners simply do not have the time to perform the work, or enough practice over time to gain the skills to properly prune.

The PROPER PRUNING OF SMALL TREES & SHRUBS free webinar is Tuesday, January 11th from 6:30pm-7:30pm CST. Register now.

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