A group of enthusiasts met to learn pruning techniques from John Althouse, where he showed us his preferred tools; by-pass pruners, loppers, and a curved pruning saw. We pruned several shrubs at Center Park to remove crossed branches, congested branches, suckers, and for height control. This structural pruning is best done before the shrubs leaf out. We also pollarded the Pussy Willow Living Fence for the first time. This is where the young willows are pruned to about 3' with all side branches removed to leave just one upright stem. This will become the post for the Living Fence. Trimmed branches were both woven into the base of the posts and also put into the ground to replace missing posts.
I learned that the stationary flat side of the pruners or loppers should be placed near the living stem side of each cut to reduce the chance of tearing the bark. John taught us that angled cuts just above the branch collar promote the best healing. We will continue to prune the shrubs at Center Park throughout March and April.