‘Understanding Pruning’: The important gardening activity

Garden Maintenance
// August 26, 2016

Unlike animals, most plants are blessed with the ability to regenerate their lost organs by forming new ones. Regeneration is a natural response of plants to injuries, wounds & removal of plant parts. Pruning, on the other hand, is a planned removal of plants branches, leaves, twigs, limbs, shoots or roots. It is an essential horticultural practice.

pruning plant with secateur

Pruning is done to give the plant a proper shape & direction, to develop a robust framework, to control unwanted plant growth, to increase the number of flowering branches, to remove dead & decaying branches, etc. therefore pruning should be a regular garden practice.

Following are different types, forms & variations of pruning:

Topping or pinching: Plants have natural tendency to grow vigorous single central shoot way faster than other side branches. This phenomenon is called apical dominance. An important purpose of pruning is to reduce apical dominance completely by removing this rapidly growing central apical shoot. This encourages the uniform growth of lateral branches. Therefore plant attains proper shape. Removal of growing point of a shoot in herbaceous plants is also called as topping or pinching. eg. Seasonal flowering plants, vegetable plants like Tomato, Chilli, Capsicum, Gourds.

Topping: pruning of plants


Clipping or Trimming: Regular pruning of garden hedges, edges, and topiary shapes is called as clipping or trimming.


Deshooting: Removal of any shoots that are not wanted is called deshooting. Eg. Flowering shrubs like Hibiscus.

tree pruning

Disbudding: In many shrubs, unwanted flowering or foliage buds are removed before they mature, this process is called disbudding. Eg. Chrysanthemum, Roses.

Pruning Techniques: Disbudding

Defoliation: In some plants, leaves are removed to encourage flowering, this is called defoliation. Eg Jasmine.


Thinning: Cutting off the extra germinated seedlings that are weak, slow growing & keeping a single healthy seedling intact at one spot. This process is called thinning.


The frequency of pruning depends on the purpose of pruning & type of plant. A unique garden feature like Topiary is pruned every day.

Topiary Pruning

Hedges & edges are pruned weekly to keep them in shape, flowering shrubs are pruned at the end of the flowering season, and trees are pruned every year before the monsoon.


Pruning cut is usually made just above axillary buds of plants. Clean, sharp, single cut is made for pruning by using a pair of scissors /secateurs /pruning shears.

Check out our pruning & cutting tools.