Pruning is an art because when you do it, you are creating a new sculpture by changing the shape of the plant. Yes, there are other benefits, like improving health, managing size, improving fruit bounty, and, frankly, it’s a meditative experience too, at least for me.
Pruning as an Art
One of the things I enjoy about pruning is standing back, and looking at the plant’s shape and structure afterward. It’s like working with a sculpture. It’s pleasing to see a tree particularly, standing strong, with healthy branches reaching out in different directions. The goal is always to make the tree stronger, healthier, and more productive by opening up the canopy to allow room for more light to come it and allowing room for healthy branches to grow.
Pruning for Health
Trees need light and air to be healthy. I prune to allow more of each of these. Dead and crowding branches are removed and more space is created between them. This is like a tuneup for trees. The tree now has more energy to put into fewer branches, and more light coming in for healthier growth.
Pruning for Size
Fruit trees, in particular, are more user-friendly when they are kept to a smaller and more pickable size. Meaning, that if you can keep the height to 12’ to 15’ maximum, or even shorter, it will be easier to pick the fruit. Pruning fruit trees allows for this kind of size management.
Pruning for Bounty
Pruning stimulates new, stronger growth on remaining branches. It reduces the number of flower buds on a fruit tree which can translate into larger, sweeter fruit, as the tree puts more energy into its smaller production needs. Pruning allows more light in. More light to the main branches equals more and better fruit production.
Pruning for Pleasure
I feel satisfied after a good pruning job. While I am engaged in the pruning, I lose track of time and space and get into the moment. The same thing happens when I am doing artwork. When I am finished with either one, I love to just stand back and admire the finished product.
Tools of the Trade
A good pruning job is dependent on good tools. My tools of choice are a sharp pair of Felco pruners, Silky compact pruning saws, a Corona full-size pruning saw, and for the big stuff, a Stihl chainsaw. These tools and a good eye for shape and form produce works of art in the plant world.