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The purposes of pruning and the need to know the different phases that precede it
We speak of pruning when we refer to all the interventions that we put into practice to modify the natural growth of the branches of a tree and consequently to modify its ordinary structure. Pruning, therefore, if it is well done, ensures the plant a more harmonious growth and above all much stronger growth bases. Therefore, we will have more healthy, more luxuriant, more beautiful plants because they are more controlled and therefore more cared for, and, if we are talking about fruit plants, they are much more fruitful both in terms of quantity and quality. Before pruning a tree, however, you need to know certain procedures in order not to risk compromising its growth and thus invalidating your work. First of all it is necessary to take into account the development phases of a tree, known as "stations", the annual tree cycles or "phases" and the influence of the moon on pruning, so it is necessary to know perfectly the lunar cycles in order not to risk negatively affect fruit production. Once this information is learned, it is advisable to know the main types of pruning and the different pruning techniques that can be used to make our tree grow strong and healthy.
Stations and phases of the tree
The stations that make up the development of a tree are three: 1) the unproductive station, that is the one that begins with the birth of the map and has its conclusion with the production phase of the same; 2) the adult station, that is the one where the tree begins to bear fruit and consequently decreases its vegetative development; 3) and the old-age station, where all the vigor of the plant goes slowly to diminishing reaching the total unproductiveness. These three phases do not have a standard duration for all trees and can only be determined by analyzing the environmental factors in which the tree is located and its species. For a correct and functional pruning, besides the stations it is useful to know also the phases of the tree, also in this case, there are three: 1) the vegetation phase, which begins in winter and ends in spring; 2) the lignification phase, which begins when the buds of the leaflets end their period of development and ends with the fall of all the leaves, by now developed and 3) the resting phase, which begins with autumn and ends when begin to see the new gems. In the vegetation phase the tree begins to produce new shoots, in the lignification phase it increases its roots and settles in the resting phase. Remember that you should never prune the tree during the lignification phase, but only during the resting phase, obviously not on the coldest days, because otherwise you would risk reducing the subsequent development of the plant.
The main types of pruning for trees
There are six types of pruning depending on the purpose you want the plant to reach: 1) breeding pruning, which is practiced mainly at the beginning by the growth of the plant until it begins to produce fruit and consists in giving it the desired shape in order to adapt it to our needs; 2) the production pruning, which must be performed during the production station and consists in giving the plant the dimensions and therefore the desired fructification; 3) pruning rejuvenation, which consists in removing all the diseased or damaged parts of the plant; 4) the pruning reform, which is never recommended because it completely changes the shape of the tree and therefore goes against sharp cuts that lead more often to a strong vegetative imbalance; 5) the transplant pruning, which consists in exporting the broken roots when you want to transplant a tree and finally we find 5) the restoration pruning, which consists of a real elixir for the plant, which will be freed from all the diseased or withered parts. When these prunings are carried out in the winter period they are defined as belonging to dry prunings. If the cuts are made in spring or even in summer, the category to which they belong is instead attributable to green pruning.
Tree pruning: The most popular pruning techniques and tools to use
Let us now analyze the different types of pruning together, remembering that it is always best to do them in the waning moon phase.
1) Pruning of the branches: It consists in thinning the excess branches and is carried out in the first two years of the plant's life, once it has entered production. The branches must be cut at the base of the attachment with other branches, in order to create more space and give more solar brightness to the surviving branches. Usually a chainsaw is used. The cut should always be done starting from the side facing the branch ground up to the top. To be carried out during the vegetative rest phase.
2) Thinning of the top: It consists in the thinning of the finest branches that grow on the top of the plant and is usually done with the classic pruning shears. To be performed at rest.
3) Return cut: It is done by pruning a branch where it has grown on another branch. It is advisable to carry it out at rest and use mastic to cover the wounds caused to the plant in order to avoid infections. It is usually implemented with a normal saw by cutting the branch in transverse.
4) Ramming: To be carried out when the branches lose force, consists in cutting the branches that grow on them leaving a piece in order to stimulate the plant to create new shoots. To be carried out always at rest.
5) Spuntatura: It serves to stimulate the vegetation and consists in the removal of the apical part of the branch to give the gems grown under it a greater nourishment.
6) Clearing: It consists in removing the strongest and thickest shoots from the branches of the plant because their vigor needs more nourishment at the expense of the other buds. To be made with simple scissors both at rest and during lignification.
7) Scacchiata: It consists in removing all superfluous gems in order to guarantee more nourishment to the others, it can also be done with the hands and must be practiced in spring-summer.
8) Removal of the anticipated branches: To be carried out with a clipper to guarantee more sap to the plant.
During pruning remember to always have at hand the tools of the trade that consist of 1) pruning shears; for less robust cuts, scissors with two blades, a blade or a bladed blade are usually used. Obviously it is good that these scissors are light and manageable so as not to hinder your work and that, of course, they are sharp otherwise you risk ruining your plant. On the market there are also long-handled scissors, very useful for larger branches. For larger branches you can use 2) a saw, when the scissors are no longer enough, which can be with closed, open or pistol handle. The blade should not be too long and must be very flexible. Finally, if the trunks are huge you usually use 3) the chainsaw. Another important thing: remember to always have the mastics with you that will make it possible to heal the wounds of your plants after pruning. It is necessary to avoid infections to the tree and they exist in spray version, liquid or in spreadable paste.
And to finish off, always have a pair of good gloves with you to avoid scratches and injuries.