Within the last year or so, I have started to keep plants around my house. I have never been a plant person. Growing up I didnt like to get my hands dirty by playing in dirt. My grandparent were really into plants. My grandfather would have plants on the outside and inside of the house. I watched him cultivate a entire yard of nothing to a beatuiful home with bushes, plants and trees.
When I go to my grandmother and pull into the yard, Isee what his hands planted and see the benefits of his planting seeds years ago. One thing, I never understood that every week he was in the yard pulling weeds up and trimming up his plants. The house plants would last for years and some are still in my grandmothers house. One thing I remmeber seeing was my grand father taking the time to pull the dead leaves off of the plants. Back then I didnt know what he was doing but not I know that he was pruning the plants.
According to the dictionary, pruning is the physical act of trimming branches, leaves or dead matter from a plant. Typically this is done to make the plant look more attractive or to help keep it healthy.
Horticultural experts and landscapers generally agree that pruning is carried for one (or more) of four different reasons: Training the Plant, Maintaining the Plant’s Health, Improving Flower / Fruit Quality and to Restrict Growth. Instead of looking at a plants perspective we well take a look at this in a life perspective.
Training the Plant:
To keep a tree or shrub to a specific size or shape, it must be regularly pruned. The initial pruning starts early in plants and young trees which consists of removing broken, crossing, or any pest-infested branches. Think back to the stern talks from your parents about the people who you called friends. It was like they could see which kids were bad seeds and wouldn’t be good for you. Of course, like many kids my age we had to learn from experiences with our friends. Slowly but surely those people who you called friends started to change and suddenly they are not there any more. Our parents taught us how to recognize when someone is for you and who is just out to get something from you. Just like as plants tend to outgrow their enviroment and start their own growing pattern (such as straying) we are reshaped by pruning. Like many kids today, I was trained by those around me. People like my mother, grandparents, adults in the church, coaches, and friends parents would help train me for this thing called life. All this training early on has helped shape who we are today with our values.
Maintaining Plant Health:
To prune a plant for health reasons, one must first consider sanitation, which includes the elimination of all dead, dying, or diseased wood. Any dying branch or stub can be the entry point or build-up chamber for insects or disease that could spread to other parts of the plant, with devastating results. When removing diseased wood is important that the cut be made in healthy wood, beyond the point of infection and always with a sterile blade. This can also be useful in your personal life as well. Sometimes things or people need to be cut out of your life because keeping it can literally kill you, your dreams and even your goals. You can have people attached to you literally sucking the life out of you. This can be a relationship, friendship or even a family member that you make have to severe the relationship completly. I have had to distance myself from certain people and relationsip in order to keep my sanity. Was it hard yes indeed, do I miss the things that we had of course I do. At the same time, I look back and see how much pain I was in and realize that happyness is better. Sometimes things are removed from our life that we dont have control of and we yearn to have it back.
The best gardener I know is God. God starts with a seed and continues to look after and care for his creations. When pruning you, from my experience God will take away one thing but bless you with something better and greater. This happened to me in the fall of 2017 when I lost my job and took on a temp job. The temp job didnt pay as much and I didnt understand what I was going to do. This particular season literally broke me down to the core. I went through something and I tried to do everything in my power but in the end I saw that certain things were exposed and were removed from my life. All you have to do is put trust in the master gardner and he will make things brand new.
Improving Flower / Fruit Quality
Have your ever tried to do something and no matter how often you try it never works. I’ve learned along my path of life, you can’t do everything and everything is not meant for you. A good example of this is when I wanted to go into the military since taking Air Force ROTC in high school. I was determined to travel the world and wear the uniform proud. The more energy I put out trying to achieve this dream the less I was focusing on myself. At the time, I was putting all my eggs in basket of the military that I wasn’t producing in my grades in high school. To be honest, I barely made it out of high school and into college. When the military door closed, it took me a a different path. Once I got on the right path and made the right choices everything started to flourish in college.
Restricting Growth: Over time, you start to outgrown certain things and certain people also. When you are advancing to another level you often find that there is not enough room or space allowed for certain things. Consistent becomes necessary to keep your life growing. Have you ever seen a plant bloom and all of a sudden stop growing and begin to die. Often times a plant causes havoc on itself if not treated correctly. Plants often out grow their pots and if nothing is done it will kill it self because the roots cannot expand. As humans we tend to out grow our pots such as the neighborhoods we grew up on, childhood friends and certain relationships. So often we stay in these pots out of comfort and familiarity. This may feel good in the moment but it puts a choke hold on any progress that we may make. Regular pruning is necessary to maintain growth rate.
With constant growth skills and dedication to changing will keep energy and creativity flowing by taking inventory every so often.
Let in More Light – If you have an extremely shady yard or you’d like to have more sun reaching the area under a tree for plants or lawn, careful pruning can let in a little extra sunshine.
Improve Appearance – Many gardeners’ top priority when pruning their plants is about their appearance in the yard or garden. Removing dead, unwanted skin, as well as suckers creates a pleasing shape and leaves plants looking neat and tidy. Many lovely blooming shrubs such the Butterfly Bush (Buddleia spp.) are capable of spectacular blossom displays due to good pruning techniques.
Proper pruning can keep people, and yourself safe.
In general, a successful pruning job will leave you healthy, beautifully-shaped looking like you haven’t been touched at all.