Now is time to do most pruning in Buffalo area

prune shrubs in Buffaloby Connie Oswald Stofko

When it comes to pruning, the most common mistake people make is that they do it at the wrong time, said Sally Cunningham, CNLP, who is a horticulturist, author and garden consultant.

Cunningham will join Rex Weber, CNLP, arborist at Bradley Tree, in teaching a pruning seminar on Saturday, March 19 at Lockwood’s Greenhouses, 4484 Clark St., Hamburg.

“Where most people go wrong is that they go around like little squirrels and try to tidy things up in the fall,” Cunningham said. “Pruning then isn’t good for woody plants.”

Pruning doesn’t just make the plant shorter, she explained. Pruning also stimulates the plant to grow.

By September, trees and shrubs are preparing to go dormant. You don’t want to stimulate their growth in the autumn.

“That’s wasting the plant’s energy,” Cunningham explained. “Late winter and early spring is the perfect time to prune because it stimulates growth.”

Even if there is snow on the ground, all of March is a good time for pruning because the hard winter months are behind us, she said. It’s easier to see the shape of the bush or tree before it’s full of leaves. This is also a good time to prune because it’s before the sap starts running and before the plants bud.

However, this isn’t the time to prune spring-flowering shrubs such as lilacs, Cunningham noted. If you prune them now, you are cutting off flowers that might have formed.prune broken branches in Buffalo

There are certain circumstances where you have to prune, even if it isn’t the right season for it:

  • If the plant is diseased
  • If a branch is broken (you must make a proper cut to keep the plant healthy)
  • If a limb is endangering people

Of course, put safety first.

“Don’t cut limbs that are over your head unless you really know what you’re doing,” she cautioned. Sometimes you need to call a professional arborist.

But with a little bit of training, a home gardener can learn how to properly prune trees and shrubs, she said. You can direct the growth of your plant by making proper cuts.

“You can be empowered to take care of your shrubs,” Cunningham said. “You really can make a difference in the look and the health of them.”

She’s looking forward to working with Rex Weber at the pruning seminar at Lockwood’s Greenhouses.

“He’s the grandfather of arborists in the area,” Cunningham said. “He’s well respected and he’s been doing it a long time. He teaches with a great love for the trees. It’s a pretty cool thing learning from him.”

The seminar will consist of two sessions. The session on pruning shrubs will run from 9:30 a.m. to noon and the session on the pruning and care of small trees will run from 1 to 3 p.m. It is recommended that you attend both sessions since each session contains important information applicable to the other class and information won’t be repeated.

Lunch is included for those who register for both sessions.

The cost is $45 for both sessions or $25 for one session. You can make payment after March 1 in person at Lockwood’s  or by phone at 649-4684. CNLP credits are available.

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