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8 Pruning Mistakes to Avoid in Your Plant Care Routine 

Ever tried to give your plants a little haircut and ended up with a mess? You’re not alone. Pruning is tricky, and even the best of us make mistakes. It’s tough seeing a plant you care about struggle because of a bad trim. But don’t worry! We’re here to help. I’ve listed the top 8 pruning mistakes to avoid and you’ll be on your way to healthier, happier plants in no time with this guide. Let’s get started!

8 Pruning Mistakes to Avoid in Your Plant Care Routine

Pruning mistakes can cause irreversible damage and can even kill your plant. Keep reading to learn about eight pruning mistakes to avoid in your plant care routine.

1. Improper Cut

8 pruning mistakes to avoid in your plant care routine 

An improper cut is when a gardener cuts too close to the trunk or too far from the trunk. This is one of the most important pruning mistakes to avoid as this mistake can cause irreversible damage to the plant and prevent it from healing quickly. The two most common improper cuts are flush cuts, cutting too close to the trunk, and stub cuts, cutting too far from the trunk. 

You must always cut above the node to prevent exposing your plant to diseases. However, cutting too close to a node can stop the plant’s growth.

2. Topping a Tree

Topping means removing the central leader or the main branch, it is one of the most damaging pruning mistakes to avoid. Cutting off the top of a tree stresses it as new branches will begin to form once you cut off the top of a free which can unbalance the tree’s structure. Most gardeners make this mistake when a tree gets too big for its allocated space. 

However, topping a tree isn’t a way I recommend to control a shrub’s growth. This mistake unbalances the shrub’s weight and size, which may cause the tree to fall. Therefore, I strongly recommend researching the mature size of a tree before you plant it.

3. Improper Pruning Technique

Improper pruning techniques can damage your plant in multiple ways. In my opinion, the ideal pruning technique should include the use of sharp and clean tools and avoiding improper cuts. Improper pruning can lead to the spread of diseases, weaken the structure of your plant, reduce its flowering and plant product and hinder growth. 

Adhering to a proper pruning technique like making clean cuts above a healthy branch using sharp and sterilized tools, helps promote your plant’s health.

4. Using Dirty Pruning Tools

8 pruning mistakes to avoid in your plant care routine 

One of the most common pruning mistakes to avoid is using dirty or dull tools to prune. Even the most expensive pruning tools are no good if you fail to maintain them. While most gardeners often think that sharpening their tools every few days is a waste of time and energy, skipping this step can weaken your plant significantly. 

Also Read: How to Choose the Best Lawn Tools for Your Lawn?

Dull shears are incredibly difficult to use and require more effort from your side. Hence, using tools without sharpening them often does not make clean cuts. The primary goal of pruning is to help the plant grow healthier. However, using blunt shears to cut the plant creates improper cuts, which causes larger wounds. Ultimately, larger wounds will take longer to heal, exposing your plants to diseases.

Using dirty pruning tools can also transfer bacterial diseases like canker to your healthy plants, which is a gardener’s worst nightmare! Clean and sharp pruning tools are more durable, help you achieve a clean cut, and are safer to use. 

Also Read: How to Clean Rusty Garden Tools | 5-Step Effective Guide

5. Excessive Pruning During Growth Season

8 pruning mistakes to avoid in your plant care routine 

Pruning a plant excessively during the growth season is a pruning mistake to avoid at all costs. During the growing season, leaves and stems form rapidly. Leaves and stems are the two primary sources of food for plants. Since pruning removes leaves and stems, excessive pruning can starve the plant. Therefore, it is important to analyze and research the needs of your plants and prune them only when necessary.

6. Not Pruning At All

Do you know what’s worse than excessive pruning? Not pruning at all! It is the worst mistake you can make as a gardener. While your plants may survive without pruning, this process helps ensure a healthy plant. 

Although many plants do not need to be pruned to encourage growth, removing diseased leaves is essential. This is because pruning improves your plant’s shape and prevents the chance of diseases and mold. Moreover, some plants may not thrive as they should if you neglect to prune them in their early stages.

7. Ignoring The Disease When Pruning

8 pruning mistakes to avoid in your plant care routine 

One critical mistake to avoid is ignoring the presence of diseases when pruning a plant. Even if only a tiny portion of the plant is affected by the disease, you must never overlook it. This is because the disease may spread and kill the entire plant. To avoid this, you must be vigilant when pruning a plant

Examine the plants thoroughly and look for any signs of bacteria, discoloration, or abnormal growth. Once you have identified a diseased plant, you must proceed with caution. Make sure you use clean and sharp tools to prune your plants and use proper sterilization practices to avoid contaminating other plants in your garden. 

Once you remove and carefully dispose of the diseased parts, make clean cuts above the healthy nodes to halt the spread of the disease. To minimize the risk of the disease affecting other plants, you must use good hygiene practices, like disinfecting your tools after each cut.  

8. Neglecting Pruning During Pruning Seasons

The ideal time of the year to prune depends on the plants in your garden. Different plants need pruning during certain seasons, and cutting them at the wrong time could stunt their growth. If you prune a tree when it’s growing, the pruning wounds can cause it to lose a lot of sap. The loss of sap can weaken the tree significantly, making the tree susceptible to diseases. 

However, pruning a plant during the appropriate season can be immensely beneficial. Pruning removes dead, damaged, or diseased parts of the plant, helping prevent the spread of the disease. It also promotes proper air circulation within the plant. Pruning a plant during the appropriate season encourages its growth. 

Also Read: How to Choose the Best Lawn Tools for Your Lawn?


When the question of pruning arises, avoiding common mistakes is crucial. The most common mistakes include ignoring diseases, using dirty and dull tools, over-pruning during the growth season, and not pruning at all! These mistakes can have various impacts on your garden, including the spread of diseases, weak plant structure, and stunting of your plant’s growth however, there are other pruning mistakes to avoid too. Therefore, using a proper pruning technique is the key to ensuring healthy plants.


What Are Proper Pruning Principles?

Proper pruning principles involve using sharp and clean tools to remove selective branches for optimal plant health during your plant’s pruning season.

What is The Negative Effect of Pruning?

Improper pruning can lead to disease transmission, weakened plant structure, and stunted growth. All of these issues adversely impact the overall health and vitality of the plant.

Why Do You Need to Be Careful During Pruning?

A properly pruned and trimmed plant will be less susceptible to diseases, have a stronger structure, and elevate the appearance of your garden.

What is Maintenance Pruning?

Maintenance pruning involves regularly removing dead or diseased branches and strategic trimming to preserve your plant’s health.

Ian richardson

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