Prune in June? Well, Sometimes. Wondering What, When and How to Prune? The Basics of Pruning: A Weekend Workshop and a Giveaway…

Horizontal juniper, (photo © 2010 Michaela at TGE), pruned to highlight stonework and clay pot focal point…

Japanese maple, (photo © Michaela at TGE), pruned to arch over the Secret Garden doorway…

Microbiota decussata, (Siberian cypress), (photo © Michaela at TGE), pruned to highlight the edge of a walkway…

Pruning: Why, when, how and what? Oh the frustration and confusion on the gardener’s face when given their first red handled Felco pruners. And you know what? I understand completely. I wasn’t born with scissor hands – though I sometimes feel like it. I love to prune, and I love teaching gardeners about pruning. This weekend, I will be presenting a free seminar on ornamental pruning at Walker Farm – please come on by if you are in southern Vermont this weekend, (call 802-254-2051 or visit for more information). For me, what began as a loathsome task many years ago, has become one of my greatest passions. Pruning is indeed an art, but it is also a science. To train a tree or shrub artfully is to create living sculpture, and to correctly prune away damage is to prevent disease. Think of the great bonsai of Japan, and the masterful topiary in Europe. Oh the beauty and skill – oh the intimidation!

Oh yes, I understand. Not every gardener wishes to create a maze of boxwood hedges, (mmm, but wouldn’t it be fun?). The truth is, all master pruners begin their craft with a simple pair of bypass pruners or other secateurs, and an introduction to the effects of various kinds of cuts on plant growth. In fact the most basic type of pruning, pinching, requires only a pair of fingernails! Curious to learn more about pruning? Travel back a bit on this site to a post I wrote last year on pruning. There you will find an introduction to the hows and whys of this craft.

A few simple tools and supplies are needed to get you started: a good pair of bypass pruners, (I use Felco 8 or Felco 6 for smaller hands, but there are higher end pruners, and also less expensive types); a quality Grecian, (or Felco Folding Saw), saw; a Bow Saw for tackling large limbs; and a pair of basic, manually operated hedge shears will come in handy for tackling hedges or large clumps of ornamental grass…

My pruning tools after a day of work, (photo © 2010 Michaela at TGE) ready for cleaning, sharpening and oiling…

Although major structural pruning usually takes place during the dormant season, (here in Vermont, this tends to be in February and very early March), there’s always a need for the occasional snip, trim or cut in the garden. Damaged branches should always be removed as soon as noticed, and spent flower blossoms, especially on roses, are best removed when they fade. I will be writing more about pruning, and caring for your tools of the trade. But for now, I encourage you to begin with the introductory article I posted last year. And of course, please enter this week’s giveaway contest…

Thinning horizontal juniper, (photo © 2010 Michaela at TGE)…

Felco Classic Pruner (available at Amazon Home/Garden)

The right tools are key to success in every garden task, and for pruning jobs, one of my favorite tools is the classic Felco 6 or 8 bypass pruner. And at the end of this month, one lucky reader will receive a complimentary pair of Felco 6 or 8 pruners, (depending upon hand size), from The Gardener’s Eden! In honor of our first anniversary, The Gardener’s Eden is giving away one last, special gift. In order to enter, simply answer the question below in the comment section of this article. Be sure to post your answer prior to 11:59 am Eastern Daylight Time cut-off. Only one entry per reader, per give-away please. The winner will be chosen at random from all of the correct entries received, and will be notified by email. Gift recipients will also be announced both here on the blog and on our Facebook Page, and all gifts will ship at the end of the month. So now…

The question is: No quiz today! Simply state whether you wear a small, medium or large size glove, (to help determine Felco pruner size). In order to enter the contest, please post your answer in comments here on the blog, (not on the Facebook page). All email addresses will remain unpublished and kept in complete confidence. Your email will only be used to notify you if you have won. Good Luck!

* In order to provide each reader with an equal chance to win, your comment/ entry will not appear until 4/29*

Entry must be posted by 11:59, Eastern Time, 4/28/10


Article and photographs are copyright 2010, Michaela at TGE. All content on this site, (with noted exceptions), is the property of The Gardener’s Eden and may not be used or reproduced without prior written consent. Inspired by something you see here? Great! Please give credit where credit is due. It’s a small world and link-love makes for fond friendships. Stealing makes for bad dreams…

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28 Replies to “Prune in June? Well, Sometimes. Wondering What, When and How to Prune? The Basics of Pruning: A Weekend Workshop and a Giveaway…”

  1. lulu


    love the blog! wonderful ideas and beautiful pictures and so inspirational! you truly are amazing!!!!

    these large hands are made for pruning and rubbin!


  2. Pat McLain

    I wear a women’s large size glove and I am left-handed. Left-handed pruners are hard to find around my neck of the woods!

  3. Katrien

    I wear medium sized gloves, but most of the time I don’t wear gloves at all. I have trouble finding gloves that fit my four-year-old’s little hands, as she is not so keen on getting her hands (very) dirty.

  4. Melissa Ives

    I wear a medium woman’s glove — a man’s small. I’d love to have a pair of these pruners. I am just beginning my own collection of gardening tools instead of having to borrow from my husband.
    Thanks for a wonderful blog, Michaela.

  5. Deb Endyke

    My glove size is large :-)

    I wish I could attend your pruning workshop this weekend, but spring track schedules put a crimp in my style at this time of the year :-) I tend to prune when something gets messy looking, no matter what time of the year. For example, my Japanese red jade crab needs a haircut every few weeks to keep its nice umbrella-like shape. The river birch clump needs pruning to keep the branches from causing a problem while I mow. I haven’t lost anything yet, so maybe everything’s just adapted to my peculiarities :-)

    Thanks for creating such a beautiful and informative blog!

  6. Chrysta Fields

    Looking forward to learning more about pruning I find it a bit daunting…too much or too little…

    I wear a woman’s medium glove.

    Thanks for the contest!

  7. Jann Nienhaus

    Med size glove—love the pruners…..actually sometimes I have to keep myself from letting them take over–LOL Right now I am waiting to see if tropicals come back and am told may not know until June–prune away!

  8. Kat Spooner

    Medium-sized glove. After all the cheap pruners I have had break or fall apart over the years, I may have to shell out the dough for something that will hold up!

  9. Karen Tandy

    Thank you for this opportunity to win Felco pruners. I wear a size large to xlarge glove. I love your sight and hope I win the pruners. I love gardening here in Iowa. It is always a challange with our weather like yours. But if you loose a plant it is an opportunity to find something new and exciting to plant. Happy gardening Michaela. Thanks. Hugs, Karen

  10. Jane Rexing

    I wear a medium size glove. Wish I lived closer to Vermont so I could attend some of your talks. Do you ever travel and give seminars elsewhere?
    thanks, love your articles,

  11. Dannielle Chobot

    I really could use a new pair of pruners size medium.

    Dannielle Chobot

    PS Love your photos of gardens!

  12. Michaela

    Congratulations to Karen Tandy, winner of this week’s contest for the Felco bypass pruners! Karen’s name was randomly drawn this morning from all the entries received yesterday.

    And congratulations again to Rosemary, Nancy and Karen C – winners from previous Wednesday contests this April. All gifts will be shipping out shortly now… and I will notify you each by email when they hop on the truck :)

    Thank you to all of The Gardener’s Eden’s readers for following along. I always enjoy reading your comments. This blog is for you!

    These anniversary giveaways have been so much fun for me. I hope to find sponsors for these events in the future – I want to do more!

    Thank you again, and happy gardening everyone!

Comments are closed.