That’s the case with pear and other fruit trees, “because there isn’t any excessive growth, since it is mid-season,” said horticulturalist Mark Viette. “When there isn’t a lot of excess growth, it is easier to prune.”
Viette and his family operate the Andre Viette Farm & Nursery in Augusta County, and he appears on a home gardening and landscaping segment on Real Virginia, a weekly television program produced by Virginia Farm Bureau.
He recommended walking through the garden and assessing all the trees or shrubs before getting out the clippers. And he shared the example of a viburnum in his yard that a persistent woodpecker had damaged.
“There was a lot of damage, but it still had a strong trunk,” he said. “I looked at the tree and decided what I wanted to do, which was to prune the tree back hard and rejuvenate it instead of replacing it. I cut it almost to the ground but left a lot of nice, new growths.”
Viette recommended rejuvenating trees and shrubs by pruning once every five to seven years to encourage new growth.
“Make sure when you prune that you do it right the first time, because once you make a cut, you can’t do it over,” he said.
“Cut it back, and then let it re-grow,” he said. “It may take up to three years for the tree to grow big again.”
Check print and online resources to find the optimal time to prune specific trees and shrubs, Viette said, and remember to wear protective eyewear when pruning. “By cutting the dead branches and pruning the trees back, you’ll make the original tree much happier,” he said. “Five years from now the tree will look great, so don’t be afraid of mid-summer pruning.”