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Pruning

The meaning of «pruning»

Pruning is a horticultural, arboricultural and silvicultural practice involving the selective removal of certain parts of a plant, such as branches, buds, or roots.

The practice entails the targeted removal of diseased, damaged, dead, non-productive, structurally unsound, or otherwise unwanted plant material from crop and landscape plants. Some try to remember the categories as "the 4 D's": the last general category being "deranged".[1] In general, the smaller the branch that is cut, the easier it is for a woody plant to compartmentalize the wound and thus limit the potential for pathogen intrusion and decay. It is therefore preferable to make any necessary formative structural pruning cuts to young plants, rather than removing large, poorly placed branches from mature plants.

In nature, meteorological conditions such as wind, ice and snow, and salinity can cause plants to self-prune. This natural shedding is called abscission.

Specialized pruning practices may be applied to certain plants, such as roses, fruit trees, and grapevines. It is important when pruning that the tree's limbs are kept intact, as this is what helps the tree stay upright.[2] Different pruning techniques may be deployed on herbaceous plants than those used on perennial woody plants. Hedges, by design, are usually (but not exclusively) maintained by hedge trimming, rather than by pruning.

Reasons to prune plants include deadwood removal, shaping (by controlling or redirecting growth), improving or sustaining health, reducing risk from falling branches, preparing nursery specimens for transplanting, and both harvesting and increasing the yield or quality of flowers and fruits.

For arboricultural purposes the unions of tree branches (i.e. where they join together) are placed in one of three types: collared, collarless or codominant. Regardless of the overall type of pruning being carried out, each type of union is cut in a particular way so that the branch has less chance of regrowth from the cut area and best chance of sealing over and compartmentalising decay. This is often referred to by arborists as "target cutting".[citation needed]

Branches die off for a number of reasons including light deficiency, pest and disease damage, and root structure damage. A dead branch will at some point decay back to the parent stem and fall off. This is normally a slow process but can be quickened by high winds or extreme temperature. The main reason deadwooding is performed is safety. Situations that usually demand removal of deadwood is trees that overhang public roads, houses, public areas and gardens. Trees located in wooded areas are usually assessed as lower risk but assessments consider the number of visitors. Usually, trees adjacent to footpaths and access roads are considered for deadwood removal.[3]

Another reason for deadwooding is amenity value, i.e. a tree with a large amount of deadwood throughout the crown looks more aesthetically pleasing with the deadwood removed. The physical practice of deadwooding can be carried out most of the year though not when the tree is coming into leaf. The deadwooding process speeds up the tree's natural abscission process. It also reduces unwanted weight and wind resistance and can help overall balance.

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