This is the second in a series of blog posts leading up to our April 17, 2011 pruning workshop. These posts will address things you should be familiar with before you take pruners to plants. If you’ve signed up for the workshop, we encourage you to read through blog posts.
In the blog entry Pruning 101, you were asked to identify the plants you are intersted in pruning. With plant names now in hand, you next need to decide which of the following woody plant groups your tree/shrub falls under.
- Conifers deciduous e. g. Larix (Larch), Metasequoia (Dawn Redwood), Taxodium (Bald Pond Cypress)
- Conifers–evergreen e. g. Pinus (Pine), Picea (Spruce) Abies (Fir)
- Broad Leaf Evergreen e. g. Rhododendron, Ilex (Holly), Pieris (Andromeda)
- Deciduous Tree e. g. Acer (maple), Quercus (Oak), Stewartia, Fagus (Beech)
- Deciduous Shrub e. g. Rosa (Rose), Viburnum, Salix (Willow), Spirea, Vaccinium (Blueberry), Lavandula (Lavender)
These 5 groups are your launching off point: each embodies of group of plants that generally have specific growth/branching habits and regenerative responses/capabilities. We will leave the regenerative processes for the next blog.
Growth and branching habits are responsible for growth patterns in all plants and they fall under one of two groups, alternate or opposite. Alternate branching occurs when only one new shoot/leaf node develops along a plant limb at any given point while the next developing shoot/leaf node occurs at a different point on the opposite side of the limb-see example. Opposite branching occurs when two new shoots/ leaf nodes develop at the same point along a limb, but on opposite sides of the limb-see example. Although the examples here are clear, it is often less so because there can be a considerable amount of variation. Make an attempt to differentiate these patterns on your own plants, while noting their variability. We will examine what this variability means to the pruning process when regenerative responses are discussed in the next posting.