Capitol Hill Garden Club In Washington, D.C., Since 1952


February 14, 2017 5:15 PM | Anonymous member


Featured Speaker: Barbara Bullock, Curator of Azaleas and Rhododendrons at the U.S. National Arboretum

Our February presenter on Pruning, Barbara Bullock provided members and guests with a timely overview on pruning techniques.

Pruning is part of a plan to achieve a garden’s vision with healthy woody plants. Proper pruning requires that the pruner understand the purpose of the prune. Pruning is required to remove diseased or dangerous branches. Pruning is also required to bring light and air to the interior of the plant and promote new growth. Damage from improper pruning cannot be reversed and can cause the death of the plant. Ms. Bullock included a number of slides in her presentation illustrating her points.

Using Three Cut method will prevent the damage showing below.

For the Three Cut method a first incision is made from below as shown

A second incision is made from above just outward from the first incision. This incision will cut through the entire branch and relieve the pressure of the branch from the tree so that the limb does not tear off during the final prune made just on the outside of the collar.

The final cut:

Tree cut should be left alone to heal naturally. Applying a wound dressing will inhibit the natural healing process.

Azaleas should be pruned in early spring to reveal the structure of the plant and allow light into the interior to force growth to emerge from the center. Pruning dead and overhanging growth out should be done at any time of the year. Removing excess leaf litter is also appropriate to encourage growth in the center of the plant.

The Arboretum depends on volunteers to help maintain the garden and is particularly looking for volunteer to help with the Azaleas. Training is provided and a commitment is required. Contact Ms. Bullock at Barbara.Bullock@ARS.USDA.GOV. Much of the pruning at the Arboretum is done by volunteers. Volunteers are generally not allowed to climb. Pruning that cannot be done from the ground is contracted to a professional company. You can contribute to the beauty of the Spring Azalea and Rhododendron display.

All photos are copied from Ms. Bullock’s presentation.


Basic Pruning Principles

@ 2016 Capitol Hill Garden Club, Inc.

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software