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Horticulture 1000
HT1101 - Plant management 1 - Pruning
Plant training More on pruning


Pruning is the removal of branches or roots from a plant. This is done to change the plant’s shape, remove dead or diseased parts, or to improve the quality or quantity of flower and fruit. The natural form of a plant changes as you prune it.

The basic tools are:


There are several types of secateurs available. All are used for pruning small twigs and branches up to 2 cm thick on plants such as roses, shrubs, grapes and fruit trees.

Hedge clippersHedge clippers.

Hedge clippers are used to trim shelter trees and hedges. Power shears can also be used.


Loppers are really strong secateurs with long handles, which give extra leverage for cutting thicker branches up to about 4 cm in diameter.

Pruning sawPruning saw.

Pruning saws are used for cutting branches larger than 4 cm in diameter.


It is important to choose good quality pruning tools and to keep them in good condition. This is done by:

How you make a pruning cut

How you make a pruning cut

When making a pruning cut:

The correct way to prune

Pruning video

Watch the video about Pruning.


Pruning cuts for grape vines

Pruning cuts for grape vinesPruning cuts for grape vines.

An exception to the pruning cut rule is made when pruning grapes. These are pruned at right angles to the buds.

Never prune while it is raining. Fungal and bacterial plant diseases are carried in moist air and can easily get into pruning cuts.

Exercise 4A Choose the task that accompanies the tool.


Activity 4B In the diagram below which letter represents the correctly pruned branch.


Circle the correctly pruned branch

Select two reasons from the statements below (drag the answer onto the "Correct reason" area) to explain why you chose this particular branch:


Complete Activity 4C in your workbook

Key points   Key points

  • Pruning is removal of parts of  a plant.
  • Pruning shapes plants, lets light in, keeps plants healthy and improves fruiting and flowering.
  • The basic pruning tools are secateurs, hedge clippers, loppers and pruning saws. They should be left clean and sharp.
  • When pruning, choose a bud that is facing in the direction the shoot is to grow.
  • A pruning cut is made above the bud at an angle of about 45º.
  • When pruning large branches, use a pruning saw and make three cuts so the bark doesn’t tear.

What's next?

Go to: 5 More on pruning.

Plant training More on pruning