Last post, I discussed two goals of aesthetic pruning that I consider when pruning. Those being to make the tree smaller and also appear older. The first goal is probably not that surprising. Pruning is often used to control the size of plants. The other goal of making a tree appear to be older than it is, is probably a little more novel to most people.
We want to prune our trees and large shrubs to be smaller so we can fit more plants in our garden. This allows you to have more variety of trees that provide a variety of benefits. We want to prune our trees to look older so they impart a feeling of having a been there a long time which helps us feel calm and relax us.
Characteristics of old trees
If we reconsider some common characteristics of old trees that I mentioned before, they were:
- Wide spreading as opposed to growing mostly upwards
- Smaller annual growth of branches
- Zigzag branches instead of long straight shoots (as result of smaller growth)
- Open spaces where branches have been shaded out
- Thicker branches towards the center of the tree
Aesthetic pruning cuts to create one of these characteristics
Today, lets talk about how to achieve that first characteristic of a general old tree that of being Wide spreading as opposed to growing mostly upwards.
We can help to achieve this look by pruning out branches that are growing in directions other than “spreading out” such as:
- Branches growing up into other branches from below
- Branches growing backward toward the trunk
- Branches growing straight down
After we clean up that tree and prune out those “defective” types of branches, our tree looks like this:
How would the pruned and the non pruned trees look after another year of growth?
This simple process of removing these less than ideal branches can help you guide your tree or shrub into a more aesthetically pleasing shape. Do this to a lot of the plants in your garden and you can make it become a true garden sanctuary.