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Pruning is the removal of plant material in order to improve the shape and/or health of a plant.

Herbaceous plant pruning:

Woody plant pruning:

  • Terms:
    • Leader: A main branch, generally vertical and with side branches (laterals).
    • Lateral: A horizonally held branch coming off a leader.
    • Sucker: New stems or trunks emerging from therootstock of a tree or shrub.
    • Water sprout: Vertical branches arising from a lateral.
    • Crotch: Where two branches are connected at the base
    • Included bark: Bark that is squeezed between two branches within a narrow crotch.
    • Branch collar: A (generally raised) area on a large branch where the xylem and phloem go around a smaller branch.
    • Cambium: The growing tissue between the bark and the wood.
    • Dormant bud: Buds on branches or trunks that are not active and generally are not obviously visible on the bark.
    • Bleeding: Loss of sap due to unhealed cuts and/or diseased tissues.
    • Stub: Part of a branch that remains after the main part is removed by pruning or other causes.
  • Types:
    • Coppicing: Cutting a tree or shrub to the ground or nearly so.
    • Thinning: Reducing the density of branches to allow air or light to penetrate the canopy.
    • Fine pruning: A pruning technique where cuts are "hidden" as much as possible in order to leave the tree or shrub looking as if it naturally grew to the resulting form.
    • Shearing: Cutting all the branches of a shrub or hedge back to a set line.
    • Topping: Cutting the branches of large trees back to a set line
    • Pollarding:
    • Limbing
    • Candling
  • Order of business:
    • Deadwood
    • Damaged and diseased branches
    • Rubbing branches
    • Crossing branches
    • Branches in the way
    • Reduction
    • Aeration
    • Symmetry and form