August is a great time to prune your plants

Because there aren’t a lot of veggie harvesting and flower planting activities going on right now, August is a perfect time to prune many of our landscape plants.

The last couple years have been hard on trees and shrubs with heavy snows and freeze damage – not to mention the typical diseases, insects and fungus problems – that all need attention.

Use the acronym SAW when you get started

S = Saw!

Make sure you have the pruning saw and other tools you will need such as loppers and hand pruners. Then make sure they're clean and sharp as dirty blades can spread disease and dull blades can do damage to your plants. Use isopropyl alcohol to clean all the blades before you start and when you move from one plant to another.

A = Ask Questions!

What type of tree or shrub is it? What type of pruning does it need? And most important, what time of year should it be—or NOT be--pruned? Trees and shrubs that have already set their blooms for next spring should not be pruned or you’ll miss out on those flowers.


Your personal safety is what's most important, so do the following: (1) watch for hazards like overhead power lines if you are going to prune trees; (2) look for broken limbs hanging in the tree that could fall on you; and (3) pay attention targets like fences and flowers below that you don't want damaged by falling debris as you prune.

Finally, wear proper clothes and protection that includes sturdy boots, pants, gloves and personal and safety glasses to protect your eyes. If you will be in a tree cutting branches, always wear a helmet.

Here are the tools to use for various sized branches:

  • Smaller branches –use hand pruners or loppers
  • Medium branches – use loppers or hand saw
  • Large branches – use a hand saw or pole saw
  • For bigger branches – especially those high in a tree, you may want to hire a tree pro because they have the right equipment and the know-how to do this kind of work.

Information courtesy Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado – sponsors of the 9NEWS Water Wise Garden and the 9News Kitchen Garden.