The decorative trees and shrubs, as their names indicate, have an essentially decorative function. They are interesting for their foliage, their flowering or even their bark.
Each species has its own characteristics in terms of flowering period, rusticity, i.e. resistance to cold, development or even need for pruning. The latter generally derives from the anarchic and rapid development of the plant: this is the case of elaeagnus or pyracantha, which require at least two pruning per year.
In general, pruning is always carried out after flowering. Be careful, however, of some species in mild climates that need pruning at the end of winter or early spring, always making sure to avoid periods of frost or cold.
Training pruning aims to shape the plant as soon as it is installed in a pot or on the ground. It is particularly suitable for fruit trees or shady trees. In this specific case, the principle is to favour horizontal branches at the expense of vertical ones, which are regularly eliminated. The desired shape is that of a sunshade with a sufficient diameter to ensure a good radius of shade.
Another typical case of training pruning is that carried out on bonsai, which lasts for the entire life of the tree, or even that relating to the art of topiary of which the cloud plants are one of the most common expressions. It is about shaping trees and shrubs according to your taste, following the creativity of each one.
The pruning of shrubs in hedges or individual, becomes, for the realization of original forms, an activity of creation to all intents and purposes and within everyone’s reach.
Maintenance pruning, unlike training pruning, is carried out on already developed subjects, that is, those who have reached the desired shape and size. Maintenance pruning is carried out on isolated individuals or on hedges and consists above all in preserving their shape by eliminating the shoots of the previous year.
For most shrubs, it should generally be done in spring or autumn, depending on the flowering and rusticity of the plants. It is therefore best to find out which pruning periods are suitable for each species. It is usually possible to prune in summer, taking care to avoid periods of drought or intense heat. For trees, on the other hand, maintenance pruning, or pruning, is generally carried out in winter.
Cutting the foot
Contrary to maintenance pruning, the aim of cutting the foot is to remove the old branches from the base to encourage the budding of the new branches. On shrubs, it is best to make this cut every three years. The operation is relatively simple: it consists in identifying the oldest branches, and then cut them with a shear or a saw for wood.