One finger pruning is one of the most important things you can do for any ornamental plant in your landscape.
Many ornamental trees and shrubs are grown using techniques known as grafting and budding. Essentially that means that the desired variety is not grown from a cutting or a seed, but instead a piece of living tissue from a parent plant is attached to a root stock.
Sometimes root stocks are grown from seed, other times they are produced via various methods of cloning.
In the case of fruit trees such as apple trees, the root stock that is used is extremely important because many of the root stocks are dwarfing root stocks so the fruit trees don’t grow too high. Keeping the trees shorter makes it easier to manage the trees, prune the trees and harvest the fruit.
A specific root stock is produced, then the desired apple, peach or cherry tree is budded or grafted to the root stock to create the finished trees. More on budding and grafting here: Grafting. Budding.
Extremely Undesirable Suckers!
Japanese maples and Weeping Cherry trees are often ruined because of undesirable suckers. Anytime a plant is budded or grafted there’s a really strong chance the the plant will produce undesirable suckers from the root stock. This is not a good thing and can and will completely ruin the plant.
I made a movie about this.
Make sure you watch this little movie to the end because after I explain one finger pruning I show you living proof of how important this is, and how Ugly a Plant Can Get if You Don’t One Finger Prune!
I cannot express how important One Finger Pruning is. If you have questions about this, please post them below and I’ll do my best to answer them for you.
Irene dimaggio says
Do roses like to be pruned…my friend is a Gardner and he says they love it!
Absolutely they do! Now is a a good time to cut them back, then during the growing season you should dead head them to encourage more blooms.
Last fall, I hired someone to clean up some weeds in my bed outside the front of my house. They trimmed my Japanese maple also. It looked alright but I don’t think they did it right. The leaves didn’t fall and while there is some green growth on it, it doesn’t look happy at all. Is there anything I can do at this point to help it survive or just wait and see?
I’m sure it’s fine, but just wait and see. Don’t try and fertilize or anything like that. Your tree knows what it needs to do. This is how you test to see if a plant, or a branch on a plant has died. Just scratch the bark of your plants with your finger nail. If the tissue below the bark is green and firm your plants are fine. If the tissue is brown and mushy that part of the plant is dead.
Mike, I enjoy your suggestions for building a terrific flower and vegetable garden and how to maintain it. However, the soil in my yard is CLAY. No grass only weeds. I dug out the front bed and bought dirt to fill in the bed. My question to you is: What can I do to work with CLAY to make it more pliable so that planting flowers and vegetables can, once again, be enjoyable?
Start here: https://mikesbackyardnursery.com/?s=clay+soil
Stacy Renfrow says
How do you keep suckers or extra growth from around Crape myrtles at the very bottom. I have been cutting the extra growth back about every two weeks during the summer months. Trees are three years old and it has been a constant battle.
I see Crape Myrtles planted beside roadways that only have two to four parts growing and I know they are planted and left unattended. I have pink, purple and white and I have the same problem. Even ordered sucker control but had no luck.
If I just ignore I think I’m going to have a bush instead of a tree.
I have enjoyed all the products I have purchased and thanks for all you do.
When you remove suckers from the base of a tree you have to be really aggressive and cut them all the way back to the source. If you just clip them off you’ll keep getting more and more and more. With things like overgrown crabapple trees I am brutal and remove the suckers with a spade. Most are coming from the roots and it does some damage to the roots, but not enough to do any harm. And usually it’s a situation where I either get the suckers under control or the tree is coming out. But this is where the one finger approach can work if you get to them as soon as that bud appears.
Hey Group. I’m not new to landscaping but I am new to the Mike McGroarty backyard nursery group. I am wondering the best place to buy a good growing mix. I have a bunch of ornamental grasses that I am going to divide and need the mixture to pot them in. Thanks again for all of your insights!
Of course it depends on where you are located when looking for a growing mix. But I have a lot of info here https://mikesbackyardnursery.com/2014/12/mike-mcgroartys-secret-bed-building-and-potting-soil-recipe/
I love your info on the plants they are so helpful . When seeding , when is the best time to plant the seeds ?and are rose bushes hard to grow by seed ? Thank you
All seeds have different time schedules for how long it takes them to germinate so you have to research each thing that you want to grow from seed. You don’t want them sprouting too early indoors where you have care for them for months during the winter. Roses are not a good thing to grow from seed, you won’t get the pretty varieties that you expect. It’s better to do them from cuttings. https://mikesbackyardnursery.com/2014/12/how-to-grow-roses-from-cuttings/