If you are anything like me, you hate pruning. In fact, I don't do it as often as I should and most of my pruning is more of "I want cut flowers inside the house!". Anyway, I really do hate it, and not because it is all that difficult of a job, but because you hate cutting off a limb or branch after the plant did all that work to get it there. Of course, I don't really feel that way about hair, so I don't know why I would feel that way about branches...anyway...
There are a few roses and 2 apple trees that didn't produce very many blooms or fruit this past year because they need a good pruning.
I know it.
They know it.
...and it is time.
Good pruners are 1 of my 3 essential gardening tools for beginners (You can see the rest HERE!). I end up buying a new pair every two years or so, so I buy a good, but not great pair. You should avoid the cheap store brand pruners and even the smaller "packs" of garden gear from big name companies. Buy a solid pair of sharp pruners. Make sure they are BYPASS, not anvil pruners (You want to make clean cuts, not crush your stems). I bought Fiskers this year. The gold standard is Felco and I would go all out, but I lose things too often, so I go middle of the road. These cost $10...if you are a smart girl, you would have bought them last summer when they were clearanced. Don't wait though...the time to prune is RIGHT NOW in the early Spring.
You need to look for crossing branches, damaged branches and dead or brown branches.
Check out this rose bush and you can see the green canes that are new and fresh, and the old brown canes that need to be cut out.
So, you want to cut just above (about 1/4 inch) a new bud that is facing OUTWARDS.
Otherwise, the plant will grow back into itself and crowd its center.
The center needs to allow air in to circulate and branches need to grow out to reach sunlight.
This cut is too far away from the bud:
They are thin branches growing up directly from the ground. Cut them off as close to the ground as possible.
of the total plant, to open up the inside. Here is the finished rosebush with about a 1/3 of the canes gone.