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Pruning & Grafting Trees and Shrubs

Pruning is essential to maintaining the health and beauty of your trees and shrubs. Grafting is a way to propagate trees & shrubs. Learn when to prune and the proper techniques. See what tools you will need.

How to Make an Approach Graft, Step by Step
Learn how to make an approach graft.

How to Support Trees Naturally: Brace Grafting
Learn how to support your fruit trees with brace grafting.

How to Make a Bridge Graft
Learn how to repair trees with the bridge graft.

How to Make a Bark or Rind Graft
Learn how to graft a trunk or large branch using the bark or rind graft.

How to Do Inarch Grafting
Learn how to repair tree roots by inarching.

How to Create and Maintain a Low-Maintenance Hedge
Learn how to make an informal hedge that is low-maintenance.

Good Pruning: The Meikleour Beech Hedge
This Good Pruning Gallery will explore what we can learn from the world’s largest hedge, the 100 foot high Meikleour beech hedge of Scotland.

How to Create and Maintain a Formal Hedge
Learn how to make a formal hedge for your garden.

What Is an Open-Center Tree?
Do you know the difference between an open center tree and a central leader?

Good Pruning: Repairing Tree Damage and Shock
Shocks like drought and winter kill can do huge damage to a tree. Good pruning can save them over time by directing regrowth energy to the best branches. This step-by-step with large photos shows you how.

Your First Easy Graft, Step By Step
Learn to graft with this step-by-step for your first, easy, but very useful graft. Approach is great for tropical plants and others.

10 Popular Grafts
With these ten grafts you can do just about anything you’d need to do: change a fruit tree from one to another, repair a damaged tree, build a living fence, and more. Easy, hard, and in-between grafts are included.

Best Grafts for Tropical Fruit Trees
The best grafts chosen by researchers for 13 tropical fruits are listed here! Breadfruit, avocado, mango, jackfruit, rambutan, and more, along with links for further reading for other species.

What Are Thinning and Heading Pruning Cuts?
“Thin this branch” is a phrase you’ll see in many pruning guides along with its opposite, “head this.” What do they mean? Read this article to understand why these cut types are important, and when to use them.

Tree Surgery With Grafts: Repair Broken Trees
Do you need to repair a broken tree? For wounds to branches, bark, and roots of special trees that need repair, grafting can provide the answer. Here are three types and links to detailed, step by step, instructions.

How to Build a Living Fence
With pruning, grafting, and time, you can make beautiful fences that don’t need paint and can’t rust!

How To Prune and Train Climbing Roses
Learn how to prune the climbing roses in your garden with this article by CW Jonathan Landsman.

Popular Roses and How to Prune Them
Learn how to prune the different types of roses you might find in the garden.

How to Prune Knock Out Roses and Other Shrub Rose Bushes
Learn how to prune your Knock Out roses and other shrub roses.

Rose Pruning Basics
Use this article as a starting point to learn about pruning roses.

How To Prune Hybrid Tea Roses
If you own a hybrid tea rose, lucky you! Pruning a hybrid tea is work for the mind and body that pays off with big flowers on long stem if you are bold enough to cut back hard enough and do the job right.

How To Prune Floribunda Roses
Learn how to prune your floribunda roses with hedge shears.

What Are Watersprouts?
Watersprouts are similar to suckers, Instead of arising from the roots, however, they appear on the branches. Learn more about them such as how to identify them, why they are a problem and how to use them in grafting.

What Are Suckers?
Many gardeners find themselves battling suckers on their trees and shrubs. Find out what they are, why they are a problem, and what you can do about them.

The Pruning Rule of 1/3 for Shrubs
Learn why 1/3 is the magic number for pruning shrubs in this piece from Jonathan Landsman, Contributing Writer.

Aftercare for New Grafts
Care must be taken after a graft is made to ensure success. Learn how from Contributing Writer Jonathan Landsman.

4 Ways to Control Plant Suckers
Learn how to control those problematic plant suckers in your trees and shrubs.

How to Make a Splice Graft
A splice graft can be used to join wood together.

How to Make a Side-Veneer Graft
A versatile graft of simple cuts, the side-veneer works on small plants, even evergreens like dwarf conifers. This guide tells you how to make and use the side-veneer graft.

Plants That Sucker Often
Many shrubs and fewer trees are genetically programmed to sucker. This makes them useful for many places, but usually not in the lawn or crowded garden. This list will help you know what’s likely to sucker.

Bad Pruning: Hedging What Can’t Be Hedged
In this Bad Pruning Gallery misadventure, we take a look at what happens when someone tries to make a straight, formal hedge with everything working against it: bad conditions and a mix of the wrong plants. And we see how you can do better!

List of Grafted Plants
When you buy a plant, the seller usually won’t know if it has been grafted or not, leaving you to guess. This list of commonly grafted plants will help you guess.

How to Make A Side-Stub Graft
You can use a side-stub graft to turn a young tree from one type to another.

How to Make a Cleft Graft
The cleft graft is one of the easiest grafts to make.

How to Make a Whip-And-Tongue Graft
The most dependable graft is the whip and tongue. It is also the hardest to make, requiring a skilled craftsman. This article will tell you how and why you would make a whip-and-tongue graft.

What Is Plant Dormancy?
Dormancy plays a big role in good pruning and successful grafting. This article will teach you what dormancy is and why it happens, and how you use this knowledge in grafting and pruning.

Types of Lavender and How To Prune Them
In this guide to pruning lavenders, popular varieties of lavender are listed and matched up to their identifying type of flower spike, with a brief strategy given for pruning each popular type.

How To Prune Lavender
Lavender is a fun plant to prune, and a forgiving one. The key is to know that the plant tries to form weak wood at its center, and to slow down this process. this article tells you how and when to prune heavily to keep your plant alive and flowering its heaviest for as many years as possible.

Grafting Glossary: Scion and Rootstock
When you graft, you always graft a scion to the top of a rootstock. A what to a what? This basic article explains the terms “scion,” “rootstock,” and why both are important.

How To Use Hand Pruners (Secateurs)
Hand pruners, or secateurs, are the tool you will use most as a gardener. Period. Using hand pruners is easy and natural; you can just go at it and do what feels right. But when you want to come inside and meditate on the process, or take your pruning to the next level, let this guide be your staircase.

How To Use A Pruning Saw
Do you need to prune a large shrub or small tree? Doing the job right means cutting some thick wood, and that means using a pruning saw. This guide is full of practical, simple tips for pruning and a handy step-by-step for how to use a pruning saw.

How To Use Pole Pruners
Pole pruners are a bit of a specialty tool, but if you don’t like ladders and have a lot of high things to work on, and you’re a bit of a perfectionist, they could save you a lot of trouble. Let me help you choose and use a good one with this guide.

How To Use Hedge Shears
Hedge shears let you put a long, straight edge in shrubs, and they let you do it quickly—too quickly, if you use the tool on the wrong plant. This article overviews how shears can help in formal hedging and fall cleanup, but otherwise should stay in the shed.

How To Use A Pole Saw
Using a pole saw is a must for the homeowner or gardener that needs to prune a large tree, or remove dead wood. The pole saw is a dangerous tool but can be used safely with discretion and a little guidance.

How To Make A Clean Pruning Cut
Pruning is a lot easier than brain surgery, but it’s just as important to make clean cuts. this guide is full of tips and tricks to tell you the best spots on your plant to cut at and how to choose the right tool so that each cut you make is a clean pruning cut.

Pruning Heavy Branches & Jump-Cutting
Pruning heavy branches is a different kind of pruning requiring two phases. Doing it wrong will hurt the plant. Pruning heavy branches the right way means making many cuts and a jump cut, which this article will show you how to do.

How To Find Dead Wood: Tracing
Pruning dead wood is a key job, and tracing is the dependable way to tell which wood is dead. Tracing to find dead wood is key to knowing where to prune. This article shows you how to do it.

What Are Your Favorite Pruning Tool Brands?
When you are trimming up your trees and shrubs, what is your favorite pruning tool brand to use, and why?

How To Choose The Right Pruning Tool
Pruners, loppers, saws and shears: there are lots of tools for pruning. Read this guide and you’ll always choose the right pruning tool for every cut, whether it’s thinning small wood or cutting down a tree limb.

How To Use Loppers
Pruning with loppers lets you easily make cuts to wood from about a half inch to one and a half inches thick. Your loppers and this guide will help you make the best cuts to wood that’s too thick for pruners and too small for a saw.

Bad Pruning: Limbing Up Evergreens Needlessly
We often limb-up street trees and other deciduous trees for clearance, but for evergreens this is a bad idea. This Bad Pruning Gallery feature tells you why it’s a bad idea and gives you alternatives.

Good Pruning: “Limbing Up” To Create Clearance
This Good Pruning Gallery exhibit is a street tree pruned with proper technique to limb it up and create clearance for pedestrians and cars. Gradual pruning and good cut practices are demonstrated.

Clematis Pruning, Step By Step
This step by step guide to pruning clematis will tell you what to do and when to do it to keep your vines tidy and heavily flowering. Whether your clematis blooms in early spring, mid-spring, or late summer, this guide will tell you how to train and prune your clematis plants.

Varieties of Clematis and How To Prune Them
In this guide to pruning clematis vines from Jonathan Landsman, popular varieties of clematis are listed and matched up to their flower size, color, and pruning time, with a brief strategy given for each popular type of clematis.

Clematis Pruning Basics
Pruning clematis vines means knowing when your plant blooms and how that affects when you should work. Clematis pruning doesn’t have to get you all tangled up: start with the general ideas and tips here, then move on to the step-by-step guide when it’s time to work. Jonathan Landsman, Pruning & Grafting Contibuting Writer shows you how.

How To Recognize Dead Wood
Pruning & Grafting Contributing Writer Jonathan Landsman teaches you how to recognize dead wood in the trees and shrubs around you.

Plant Nodes and Internodes
Plant nodes and internodes are critical plant parts for pruning and grafting. Pruning & Grafting Contributing Writer Jonathan Landsman explains how to find these parts on your tree or shrub, as well as how they are used in pruning & grafting.

Pruning Dead, Damaged, and Diseased Wood
Jonathan Landsman, our Pruning & Grafting Contributing Writer, explains why it's important to look for dead, damaged and diseased wood when you prune.

Selecting Tools for Pruning Plants, Trees & Shrubs
Selecting the correct pruning tools is essential to your success. Learn how from Marie Iannotti.

When to Prune Spring Flowering Trees and Shrubs
Marie Iannotti, About.com's Guide to Gardening, gives some examples of some common spring flowering trees and shrubs and when they should be pruned.

How and When to Prune Roses
Roses are one of the most popular shrubs. Marie Iannotti discusses how and when to prune these beauties.

Good Pruning: Informal Hedging of Boxwood
A typical urban pocket garden hedged with a typical boxwood, and folks it looks great. Check out these Good Pruning Gallery photos and see why this achievable, low effort informal boxwood hedge that you would never stop to look at is still full of Good Pruning lessons.

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