Pick up know-how for tackling diseases, pests and weeds.
Farm bill, farm marketing, agribusiness webinars, & farm policy.
Find tactics for healthy livestock and sound forages.
Scheduling and methods of irrigation.
Explore our Extension locations around the state.
Commercial row crop production in Arkansas.
Agriculture weed management resources.
Use virtual and real tools to improve critical calculations for farms and ranches.
Learn to ID forages and more.
Explore our research locations around the state.
Get the latest research results from our county agents.
Our programs include aquaculture, diagnostics, and energy conservation.
Keep our food, fiber and fuel supplies safe from disaster.
Private, Commercial & Non-commercial training and education.
Specialty crops including turfgrass, vegetables, fruits, and ornamentals.
Find educational resources and get youth engaged in agriculture.
Gaining garden smarts and sharing skills.
Creating beauty in and around the home.
Maintenance calendar, and best practices.
Coaxing the best produce from asparagus to zucchini.
What’s wrong with my plants? The clinic can help.
Featured trees, vines, shrubs and flowers.
Ask our experts plant, animal, or insect questions.
Enjoying the sweet fruits of your labor.
Herbs, native plants, & reference desk QA.
Growing together from youth to maturity.
Crapemyrtles, hydrangeas, hort glossary, and weed ID databases.
Get beekeeping, honey production, and class information.
Grow a pollinator-friendly garden.
Schedule these timely events on your gardening calendar.
Equipping individuals to lead organizations, communities, and regions.
Guiding communities and regions toward vibrant and sustainable futures.
Guiding entrepreneurs from concept to profit.
Position your business to compete for government contracts.
Find trends, opportunities and impacts.
Providing unbiased information to enable educated votes on critical issues.
Increase your knowledge of public issues & get involved.
Research-based connection to government and policy issues.
Support Arkansas local food initiatives.
Read about our efforts.
Preparing for and recovering from disasters.
Licensing for forestry and wildlife professionals.
Preserving water quality and quantity.
Cleaner air for healthier living.
Firewood & bioenergy resources.
Managing a complex forest ecosystem.
Read about nature across Arkansas and the U.S.
Learn to manage wildlife on your land.
Soil quality and its use here in Arkansas.
Learn to ID unwanted plant and animal visitors.
Timely updates from our specialists.
Eating right and staying healthy.
Ensuring safe meals.
Take charge of your well-being.
Cooking with Arkansas foods.
Making the most of your money.
Making sound choices for families and ourselves.
Nurturing our future.
Get tips for food, fitness, finance, and more!
Understanding aging and its effects.
Giving back to the community.
Managing safely when disaster strikes.
Listen to our latest episode!
Pruning is essential for attractive, healthy trees and shrubs and improves the quality
of flowers, fruit, and foliage. The best way to avoid difficult pruning jobs is to
plan ahead; select plants that will fit available space after the plants have matured
to their maximum size.
Training the plant: Some pruning may be necessary at the time of planting to shape
your tree or shrub. Broken, crossing, and pest‑ infested branches should be removed,
but avoid excessive pruning at transplanting as it tends to retard plant growth and
Maintaining plant health: Pruning is vital for removing dead, dying, or diseased wood.
Any dying branch or stub can be an entry point or build‑up chamber for insects or
diseases which can readily spread to other parts of the plant.
Improving plant quality: Pruning reduces the amount of wood in trees and shrubs, and
this diverts energy into the production of larger, though possibly fewer, flowers
and/or fruit. Properly timed pruning will increase the production of wood that will
bear flowers, improving the quality of fruit, foliage, and stems as well.
Regular pruning is often employed to restrict plant growth where space is limited.
To reduce unnecessary labor, however, plants should be selected that will not exceed
Choosing the proper tools is important for successful pruning. For a branch one‑half
inch or less in diameter, small hand pruners are best. For branches up to 2 inches,
use long‑handled loppers. Hard‑to‑reach cuts require pole pruners or pole saws. Use
manual hedge shears or power shears for formal hedges. Hand pruning saws are useful
when branches are close together.
Disinfect tools with chlorine bleach diluted in water (1:9) or alcohol after each
cut on diseased wood.
Most pruning is done in late winter or early spring to give the maximum time for the
wounds to heal. However, to get the best flowering from plants that produce blooms
in the spring, prune soon after the flowers die. Flower buds for the next year will
develop on new growth during the summer. Summer‑flowering plants develop flower buds
on new shoots growing in the spring. Consequently, these plants should be pruned after
the coldest part of winter. Dead or diseased wood should be removed whenever the problem
Begin pruning at planting to train the plant and avoid large pruning jobs later. Trim
damaged roots and rubbing branches. Plants purchased from a reputable nursery were
pruned as they grew during production, and should require little or no pruning when
transplanted to your landscape.
Evergreens don't need as much pruning as deciduous plants and should not be cut back
Heading back removes part of a limb or branch. They induce side buds to sprout and
can be used to alter the shape of the plant. Make the cut just above a healthy bud,
pointing in the direction you want the branch to grow. Make slanted cuts to promote
healing and prevent the collection of water on the cut. Thinning cuts remove entire
branches at their junction with another branch or the trunk, reducing the number of
interior limbs. This opens the plant to sunlight and air and can reduce overall size.
Most plants respond best to selective pruning; a combination of thinning and heading
cuts. This is healthier for the plant and gives a more natural appearance.
Renewal pruning is used on multiple‑stemmed plants like forsythia. Young growth produces
more vigorous flowers, so each spring after flowering, remove one third of the oldest
and tallest stems near ground level to encourage development of new stems.
A natural shape is best for plants. Formal shearing of hedges causes vigorous growth
on the outside which shades the interior, leaving a "dead zone" that can't produce
new shoots. If you must shear, make the hedge wider at the bottom and sides slanting.
Thin out individual branches to open the plant to sunlight.
Never top, or dehorn, a tree, where all branches are cut close to the trunk. This
is unhealthy for the tree and, if the tree survives, a heavy flush of vertical suckers
Remove limbs with angles of less than 30 degrees from the trunk. If not removed, they
may split as the tree grows. A branch should be cut flush with the branch collar,
not the trunk. The branch collar is a usually swollen area where the branch joins
the trunk. It contains tissue with a chemically protective zone which speeds recovery.
To protect understory shrubs, and for your own safety, tie the branch to a stronger,
higher branch. Use three cuts to remove the branch as follows:
Research shows that the branch collar is more effective against decay than pruning
sealers, which may actually slow healing.
By Sherri Sanders County Extension Agent - AgricultureU of A Division of AgricultureWhite County Cooperative Extension Service411 N. Spruce St, 2nd floor Searcy AR 72143 (501) 268-5394 firstname.lastname@example.org