I cringe whenever I see a bad pruning job and I cringed a lot this spring when I saw how many people mistreated their forsythia bushes. Forsythia wants to grow as a fountain. That is its natural shape. So why do so many people abuse it by giving it brush cuts? One of the worst offenders, ever since they opened their store here, is Wegmans. Their excuse was that the butchers they hired told them that was the acceptable way. Balderdash!!! The reason landscapers (?) do it is because itís the easiest and quickest way. The way I learned and the way I prune Forsythia is using the One-Third Rule. Each spring after flowering I choose the three oldest and biggest stems and I cut them off at the base. I repeat this the second and third year. So I continually maintain that flowing fountain shape. That may sound like a lot of work and it is more work than butchering them, but I look at it this way. You mow your lawn once a week for 15-20 weeks. You prune your shrubs once a year. Now which is lower maintenance? I drove down to Elmira this past week and the good guys outnumbered the bad guys by only a narrow margin. Maybe, thereís still hope.

Iíve had occasion to go over to Absolut Care at Three Rivers this past spring and that has been another occasion for cringing when I look at how their landscapers have butchered the Crab Apple trees and the Maple trees. Rule # 1: Cut back to the trunk. DO NOT LEAVE A STUB! They pruned this past week and they violated this rule. By cutting flush the wound will heal over. Otherwise, either the stub will die or new branches will sprout that will require additional pruning. The one flagrant sin they committed in the past was NOT to take off a limb that was growing into the tree and destroying its natural shape. Pruning is an art. After each pruning cut, one has to step back and look at the tree before making any further cuts.

At Spence Crest Nature Center Auctions in the past I used to offer my pruning services using ďPlummerís Principles of Practical PruningĒ.

I cringe whenever I see a bad pruning job and I cringed a lot this spring when I saw how many people mistreated their forsythia bushes. Forsythia wants to grow as a fountain. That is its natural shape. So why do so many people abuse it by giving it brush cuts? One of the worst offenders, ever since they opened their store here, is Wegmans. Their excuse was that the butchers they hired told them that was the acceptable way. Balderdash!!! The reason landscapers (?) do it is because itís the easiest and quickest way. The way I learned and the way I prune Forsythia is using the One-Third Rule. Each spring after flowering I choose the three oldest and biggest stems and I cut them off at the base. I repeat this the second and third year. So I continually maintain that flowing fountain shape. That may sound like a lot of work and it is more work than butchering them, but I look at it this way. You mow your lawn once a week for 15-20 weeks. You prune your shrubs once a year. Now which is lower maintenance? I drove down to Elmira this past week and the good guys outnumbered the bad guys by only a narrow margin. Maybe, thereís still hope. Iíve had occasion to go over to Absolut Care at Three Rivers this past spring and that has been another occasion for cringing when I look at how their landscapers have butchered the Crab Apple trees and the Maple trees. Rule # 1: Cut back to the trunk. DO NOT LEAVE A STUB! They pruned this past week and they violated this rule. By cutting flush the wound will heal over. Otherwise, either the stub will die or new branches will sprout that will require additional pruning. The one flagrant sin they committed in the past was NOT to take off a limb that was growing into the tree and destroying its natural shape. Pruning is an art. After each pruning cut, one has to step back and look at the tree before making any further cuts. At Spence Crest Nature Center Auctions in the past I used to offer my pruning services using ďPlummerís Principles of Practical PruningĒ.