High time to say
"off with its head"
Sure, it's winter but it's also time to to evaluate the
stripped-down landscape for form and balance, and to prune
while lines are so clear.
When the leaves fall away from branches we like to see beautiful
lines, where a trunk and main limbs form a graceful sculpture.
Within those lines we want every main limb to branch and rebranch
to fill its own and only its own part of the plant's canopy. (More
help to make this happen, in Prune to keep a tree
Winter's time to look, to prune, or to plan to prune
If you're never thought about this aspect of a tree or shrub,
winter is certainly the time to look and assess your landscape
plants and other features.
Even if you can't prune right now (the scarcity of daylight
hours certainly can be limiting!) you can take photos or tie string
around limbs-to-be-removed to guide your clippers later.
The Japanese maple tree featured at the top of this page
has just a few main branches and those are spread so each covers
its own territory. That's good! Yet the branches that stem from
each main limb lack grace. Perhaps someone has been shearing their
tips so that none have elongated to claim dominance in their
sectors. Now would be the time to do some shaping and thinning,
eliminating branches that are not doing anything except duplicating
an effort. (See what we did to this and other
Below: Looking at the same tree from another angle reveals a
new consideration: The neighboring "dwarf" globe blue spruce is too
large. It's a hulk that overpowers the maple. Even such a large
plant can be cut back.How far depends on how deep into the interior
it has needles and live tips. Now is the time to look and see what
the possibilities are, and do the cutting. (See what
we did to this spruce!)
We addressed these plants in a pruning session during late
winter. Follow these links to see what we did, and how, to the Japanese
maple and to the globe blue spruce.
Photos above: ©2012 by Barb Sturtz